Panthers sign Fleischmann, Jovanovski
Upshall, Versteeg, Theodore, Bergenheim also added
The Florida Panthers, who were far from the salary cap floor heading into Friday, got a lot closer with a spate of acquisitions.
Tomas Fleischmann, 26, was signed to a four-year deal after an injury-shortened season due to blood clots in his lungs. He is now taking medication to deal with the condition.
The Czechoslovakia native has never played a full season in his six-year NHL career.
Carrying a cap hit of $2.6 million US last campaign, the forward notched 12 goals and 19 assists for the Capitals and Avalanche and has scored 68 goals in 305 career games.
Former NHL most valuable player Jose Theodore signed a two-year deal with the Panthers.
Florida also signed forwards Scottie Upshall and Marcel Goc and former Panther Ed Jovanovski, and made a deal for Philadelphia for well-travelled Kris Versteeg. The Panthers later added forward Sean Bergenheim to the mix.
Bergenheim, a native of Finland, spent the first five years of his NHL career with the New York Islanders and spent last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring 14 goals and 15 assists in 29 games.
The 27-year-old shone in the playoffs this year, scoring nine goals in 16 games to help lead the Lightning to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
Theodore, who turns 35 in September, played for Minnesota last season. He went 15-11-3 with three shutouts in 32 appearances with a .916 save percentage and 2.69 goals-against average.
"Jose is a veteran goalie who has won both the Vezina and Hart Trophy," Florida GM Dale Tallon said in a statement. "He has played in more than 500 games in the National Hockey League, earning more than 250 wins, and adds depth and experience to our team. Paired with Scott Clemmensen, we feel that we have a solid goaltending tandem for the 2011-12 season."
Thedore won the Hart and Vezina trophies with Montreal in 2001-02 but was traded four seasons later to Colorado. After two seasons with the Avalanche, he moved on to Washington.
He's recorded 30 shutouts in 589 regular season games with a 2.69 average and .909 save percentage.
Tomas Vokoun has been the No. 1 goalie for the Panthers for the past several seasons but is likely to test the free agent market.
'Excited to be back'
Jovanovski was signed to a four-year deal for a reported $16.5 million US deal. The 35-year-old has played in 1,019 career games and collected 133 goals and 481 points.
The Windsor, Ont. native was the first-overall draft choice of the Panthers in 1994 and has suited up for three teams during his career – Florida, Vancouver Canucks and has spent the last five years with the Phoenix Coyotes.
"I'm excited to come back to Florida," Jovanovski said. "The first years of my career were great. Then getting traded out of there and to go somewhere else was tough on me and the family when it happened.
"A lot of things worked out for the good while I was playing elsewhere, but it's good to be back in Florida. With the moves Dale [Tallon] is making, the guys that they're adding, it shows great promise for the organization."
With a cap hit of $6.5 million US last season, the defenceman recorded five goals and nine assists in an injury-plagued season of 50 games.
The team also inked Upshall to a four-year deal that averages out to more than $3 million per season.
At age 27, Upshall topped the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his NHL career last season while splitting the year between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Columbus Blue Jackets (22 goals, 12 assists in 82 games).
"Scottie is a character player that is tough to play against and we are pleased to have signed him," said Tallon. "He recorded career bests in goals and points last season and he is a player that will bring energy and enthusiasm to our line-up every night. We look forward to Scottie’s contributions to our team both on and off the ice."
Accounting for a $2.25 million US cap hit last year, the Fort McMurray, Alta. native has played for the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers in addition to the Coyotes and Blue Jackets.
Originally drafted sixth overall by the Predators in 2002, the forward has amassed 86 goals and 86 assists in 361 career games.
To obtain Versteeg, Florida gives up a third round pick in 2012 and a second rounder either in that year or 2013 (to be chosen by the Panthers).
Since winning a Stanley Cup last season with Chicago, the forward was gone from the Blackhawks to Toronto to Philadelphia and now Florida. He was originally drafted by Boston.
The two-way forward was scored 65 goals and added 82 assists in 250 career regular season games.
Versteeg is the third player Tallon is familiar with from his days in Chicago. In the past week he's also acquired former Blackhawks Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky.
Goc has played in 389 career National Hockey League games for Nashville and San Jose, with 41 goals and 67 assists.
With files from The Associated Press