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Panthers’ Kuba signs in Czech Extraliga

Nov 9, 2012, 1:15 PM EDT

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Filip Kuba

Florida defenseman Filip Kuba has agreed to join HC Vitkovice Steel on a lockout deal, according to the club website.

Kuba, 35, represented Vitkovice at both the junior and senior levels before joining the Florida organization back in 1998. He opted not to play with the club during the 2004-05 lockout.

It’s likely that Kuba signed in the Czech Republic to get in shape for the (theoretical) start of the NHL campaign. He’ll be under the microscope when play resumes, thanks largely to the two-year, $8 million deal he signed with the Panthers in July.

Kuba moved to Florida after spending the last three years in Ottawa. His final season with the Senators paved the way for a big payday — Kuba notched 6G-26A-32PTS in 73 games last year, leading all Sens with a plus-26 rating.

He also finished second to Erik Karlsson for average time on ice, playing over 23 minutes a night.

With Vitkovice, Kuba will join a team featuring a number of former and locked-out NHLers: Roman Polak, Pavel Kubina, Marek Malik and Michal Barinka.

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