The Florida Panthers have hired Bill Zito to be their new general manager, a few weeks after Dale Tallon was let go. Tallon's era was marked by a lot of turmoil between hiring, firing, re-hiring and plethora of terrible moves that sunk a team that had Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Aaron Ekblad under contract long term for under $20M total per season. Zito is coming in to right the ship.
Zito comes from Columbus where he was an assistant general manager. Realistically, with the aforementioned pieces, he has a decent start. But then there's also the $26M per season going to Yandle, Stralman, Matheson, and Bobrovsky for the next two years, and the same grouping less Stralman for the next three. It's a lot of money tied up in players who aren't worth their level of payment. At least not by raw value. They also have Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov, and Erik Haula as UFAs up front and MacKenzie Weegar as a UFA on the blue line. This is a team that's supposed to be in its Cup window and now they have to re-tool on the fly. That's not easy.
Florida is a cap mess and they have two years left on Barkov's team-friendly deal before he's up. The clock is ticking.
(I tried to buy out Matheson's contract on Cap Friendly and that would give the team a cap hit between $1.3M and $2.3M every season for over a decade. Yandle's is shorter term but it would be a massive hit the year Barkov is due for a raise, which is bad timing. If they can replace Stralman with a near-min player, Stralman's buyout could save them a couple million each of the next two seasons and then even more savings two seasons beyond that, when they'll need the money for Barkov and Huberdeau. A Stralman buyout might be one to watch for.)
St. Louis has traded goalie