The Florida Panthers have signed veteran center John Madden to a one-year contract, general manager Dale Tallon announced Wednesday.
Madden, whose potential signing with the Panthers was first reported last week, has played in 867 NHL for New Jersey, Chicago and Minnesota and won the Stanley Cup three times -- twice with the Devils and once with the Blackhawks.
Florida has been one of the surprise teams in the first half of the 2011-12 season. Tallon overhauled the roster this past summer, but new coach Kevin Dineen has his club atop the Southeast Division standings. The Panthers could also have more reinforcements in the coming days as injured players Marcel Goc and Mikael Samuelsson both participated in the practice and weren’t wearing no-contact jerseys.
The Panthers begin the New Year with road games against the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils before a three-game homestand against some of the NHL’s elite – Vancouver, Pittsburgh and Boston. They continue to lead the Southeast, but Washington has won four straight and Winnipeg is on a three-contest winning streak. The Capitals are within three points of the Panthers and the Jets are four back.