Panthers extend Reinhart, Kulikov, lose Montour, Lomberg as NHL free agency opens

FORT LAUDERDALE — Less than 24 hours after celebrating their Stanley Cup win with a parade in Fort Lauderdale, Panthers GM Bill Zito was back to work as the 2024 NHL free agency period officially opened.


Zito was able to secure extensions with forward Sam Reinhart on an eight-year max contract, carrying an AAV of $8.625M and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on a four-year contract with a $1.15M AAV.


Reinhart’s extension was completed prior to the June 30, midnight deadline — allowing the Panthers to extend him on a max term deal.


While there was happiness with retaining Reinhart and Kulikov, the Panthers had to say goodbye to a handful of players from their Stanley Cup winning team; with Brandon Montour, Ryan Lomberg, Kevin Stenlund, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Anthony Stolarz all leaving after the free agency market opened at noon ET on Monday, 


Montour got the biggest deal, signing a seven-year, $7.14M per season contract with the Seattle Kraken. Fourth-line center and PK specialist Kevin Stenlund is joining the new Utah HC on a two-year deal and fan favorite Ryan Lomberg also signed for two years as he returns to the Calgary Flames. Ekman-Larsson and Stolarz will both remain in the division — joining the Toronto Maple Leafs.


“That’s the difficult part of the job,” Zito said when asked how difficult it was to not bring back Lomberg. “It’s a bigger thing than me in many ways. It’s part of the family, all the guys and everybody has a role, so it’s hard.”


Trying to fill the holes of their Cup winning departures, the Panthers signed forwards Tomas Nosek and Jesper Boqvist to one-year, $775K deals and A.J. Greer to a two-year, $850K per season contract.


“Tomas is an experienced veteran forward who plays a strong two-way game,” said Zito. “We are looking forward to him joining our club for the upcoming campaign.”


“A.J. is an effective forward who utilizes his size and strength at both ends of the ice,” said Zito. “We are excited to welcome him to South Florida.”


Florida also brought back goaltender Chris Driedger as a third goalie option on a one-year deal. Drieder spent two seasons with the Panthers ( 2019-20 to 2020-2021), posting a 21-8-4 record, .931 save percentage and 2.07 goals against average before being claimed by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 expansion draft. 


“Chris is a talented, experienced and hard-working goaltender,” Zito said of Driedger.  “We are excited for his return to the Florida Panthers organization.”


As for RFA’s, forward Anton Lundell unsurprisingly received a qualifying offer from the Panthers, but the two sides have not come to an agreement on a contract yet.


“I won’t talk about discussions (with the Lundell camp) but Anton’s a guy that obviously we like a lot and we want to keep him here,” Zito said when asked about negotiations with Lundell.


The club did not send a qualifying offer to defenseman Josh Mahura, who played 30 games last season and all 82 regular season games plus 21 playoff games in 2022-23 with the Panthers. 




Sam Reinhart — 8x, $8.625M (EXTENSION)


Dmitry Kulikov — 4x, $1.15M (EXTENSION)


Tomas Nosek — 1x, $775K


A.J. Greer — 2x, $850K


Jesper Boqvist — 1x $775K 


Chris Driedger




Brandon Montour — Seattle — 7x, $7.14M


Kevin Stenlund — Utah — 2x, $2M


Ryan Lomberg — Calgary — 2x, $2M


Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Toronto —  4x, $3.5M 


Anthony Stolarz — Toronto — 2x, $2.5M


Unsigned UFAs:

Vladimir Tarasenko


Steven Lorentz

Nick Cousins


Kyle Okposo 

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