The Florida Panthers have reportedly re-signed versatile forward Tomas Kopecky to a four-year, $12 million contract, worth an average cap hit of $3 million per season.
That's a hefty raise for a player who earned $1.2 million last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he had a career-best 42-point performance. The Panthers acquired the 29-year-old's negotiating rights earlier in the week from the Blackhawks.
The Panthers may have overpaid for Kopecky, but they're also a club needing to spend millions to get over the salary cap minimum of $48.3 million for next season. Paying Kopecky higher than market value accomplishes this.
It remains to be seen however if he'll play up to that salary. Kopecky has been used primarily in checking lines roles, but he does have limited scoring line experience. He could get more opportunities in that role on a rebuilding Panthers team.
After expressing pessimism over the possibility of re-signing winger Chad LaRose, Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford turned around a day later and re-signed him to a two-year, $3.4 million contract, paying him $1.5 million next season and $1.9 million in 2012-13, with an average cap hit of $1.7 million per season.
LaRose, 29, is a popular, energetic checking line winger, who last season matched his career-best in points with 31, and was fourth on the club in hits with 196.
Having re-signed Joni Pitkanen yesterday, the Hurricanes now have only winger Jussi Jokinen and Erik Cole to re-sign, although it appears Cole will be testing the UFA market.
The Buffalo Sabres today announced the re-signing of winger Nathan Gerbe to a three-year deal worth $1.433 million per season, a significant raise over the $850 he earned last season.
Gerbe, 23, earned himself a full-time roster spot with the Sabres last season, netting 31 points in 64 games, and probably would've had more if not for an early season jaw injury which sidelined him for almost ten games.
He was slated to become a restricted free agent and it was unlikely a rival club would've signed him away with an offer sheet, but the Sabres obviously wanted to get him under contract quickly before turning their focus upon other key free agents, as well as perhaps adding to their lineup via the UFA market.