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Panthers GM: Re-signing Versteeg, Garrison priorities

May 1, 2012, 12:15 PM EDT

Jason Garrison

Florida Panthers fans will be happy to hear that general manager Dale Tallon considers re-signing RFA forward Kris Versteeg and UFA defenseman Jason Garrison priorities.

Tallon met with reporters today to wrap up a pleasantly surprising season that saw his team win its division and fall a goal short of advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

What’s not surprising is that Tallon wants to keep Versteeg and Garrison. The former had 54 points in 71 games; the latter finished third in goals by defensemen (16), behind only Erik Karlsson (19) and Shea Weber (19).

Given his unrestricted status, Garrison could be the toughest of the two to keep. The 27-year-old late-bloomer with the big shot would garner significant interest on the open market, and the Panthers are still a budget-conscious club.

And with Erik Gudbranson, 20, expected to play a bigger role next season and for years beyond, locking up Garrison for the long term might not provide enough bang per buck.

If Garrison walks, Tallon might regret signing Ed Jovanovski through 2014-15. But he hasn’t walked yet, and by all indications he wants to stay in Florida.

  1. mendenhallfumblemachine - May 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Gotta get those done, two good players there.

  2. danphipps01 - May 1, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Signing an aging Jovocop forever was kind of a bad call. Between him and Campbell, they’ve got a lot of money and icetime invested in guys who are only going to decline from here on out. Garrison’s definitely gonna be the harder one to convince to hang around.

  3. phillyphever - May 1, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Can’t really blame Tallon for those signings and trades. He had to get to the cap floor and if that meant overpaying, so be it.

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