Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment, presented by Koffee Kult, in which we serve up an exciting look at what's on deck for your Florida Panthers. Like our friends at Koffee Kult, this forecast serves up only the best -- so sit back, sip and enjoy our latest brew of news, notes and information!
The Florida Panthers are expected to welcome some new players to the Territory this week.
With the NHL's free agent signing period opening at noon on Monday, Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manger Dale Tallon said after the final day of development camp on Sunday that he feels the organization is in a "good position" to make some improvements.
"We're going to be very successful moving forward," Tallon said. "I like our plan. I think it's going to be a real positive day for us tomorrow."
From an exceptionally talented young roster led by captain Aleksander Barkov to having three-time Stanley Cup-winning head coach Joel Quenneville behind the bench, Tallon knows that he has quite a powerful sales pitch when it comes to luring free agents down to the Sunshine State.
"Everyone that we've talked to, they really like the direction we're headed, with the commitment from [Panthers owner] Vinnie Viola and the fact that he wants to be a cap team, with bringing Joel in, and with the players that we have in our system," Tallon said. "We have a lot of great players as well that are coming. We've got a great nucleus… Everyone that we've spoken with that we want to come here are really impressed with what we're doing and the team that we have."
In recent years, the Panthers have added several key players through free agency, such as Evgenii Dadonov, who has posted 56 goals and 135 points in two seasons since his signing.
"It takes 23 to win," Tallon said. "It takes 50, actually. Fifty contracts. You need good call-ups, a good minor-league system. We have great coaching and a great system down there [in AHL Springfield]. We're starting to get really deep as far as our young players go, as evidenced by today. I like what we have coming down the pipe. It's all positive for the Florida Panthers."
Stay tuned to FloridaPanthers.com and @FlaPanthers on Twitter all week for free agency updates.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
After teasing fans with the announcement of their 2019-20 home opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 5, the Panthers recently released their full 82-game schedule in its entirety.
A few of the highlights from this season's slate of games includes 14 Saturday home games, 10 games in Sunrise during the month of December and a franchise-record nine-game homestand.
Need some help picking games to attend? Click HERE for six can't-miss matchups.
END OF AN ERA
After 19 seasons in the NHL, Roberto Luongo announced his retirement last week.
"This is one of the toughest decisions I've faced in my life and it took me a long time to make it," Luongo wrote in an open letter to fans on FloridaPanthers.com. "After thinking about it a lot over the past two months and listening to my body, I made up my mind. It just feels like the right time for me to step away from the game. I love the game so much, but the commitment I required to prepare, to keep my body ready, has become overwhelming."
Luongo, 40, finished his career ranking second all-time in games played by a goalie (1,044), while also sitting third in wins (489) and ninth in shutouts (77). Over two stints in South Florida, he set franchise records for wins (230), shutouts (38) and saves (16,068), just to name a few.
A three-time finalist for the Vezina Trophy and a William M. Jennings Trophy winner in 2011, the future Hall of Famer also captured Olympic gold medals with Team Canada in 2010 and 2014.
"I've been lucky to play with Roberto for almost my entire NHL career, and I'll never forget the presence that he brought to the locker room," Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. "I learned a lot from Lu about how to prepare and be a professional on and off of the ice. I'm in awe of the legacy that he left on this franchise and on the sport."
For more information on Luongo's retirement, check out the articles below.
- Luongo's Open Letter to Fans
- The NHL Reacts to Luongo's Retirement
- Luongo's Career Timeline
- Luongo Left Peers in Awe
GET A GROUP TOGETHER
There's nothing quite like celebrating a win with a group of friends.
Whether you're spending the night out with your family, friends or co-workers, the more hands around you to high five after a breakaway goal or jaw-dropping save, the better. Starting at 10 tickets, group experiences are on sale now for the upcoming and ultra-hyped 2019-20 season.
Aside from being surrounded by good company, a group outing also nets the following:
• Discounted Tickets
• Welcome Message on the Jumbotron
• Access to Exclusive Fan Experiences
• Fundraising Opportunities
• Parking Included in Each Individual Ticket
• & More!
Like most ticket offers, there's benefits to jumping on these tickets sooner rather than later as well. By placing a deposit right now, you'll land a spot on the Panthers priority list, which means that you'll be given first priority to the season's best games and most-desirable seat locations.
So gather a group together and head on over to FloridaPanthers.com/Groups for more information on how to get started. But, if smaller groups are more your thing, you can sign up for the single-game priority list now HERE.
Thanks to everyone that came out and packed the Panthers IceDen for Sunday's development camp scrimmage.
The grand finale of the four-day summer camp for prospects, forward Karch Bachman scored a pair of goals to help lead Team Red to a 3-2 win over Team White in the intrasquad matchup.
"It felt great," said Bachman, who is entering his senior season at Miami University of Ohio. "I thought the pace was really good. This is my fourth or fifth camp now. Every year it feels like it gets a little bit faster... I thought it was really quick out there. It was a good pace."
If you'd like to watch the scrimmage in its entirety, a full replay can be found HERE.
CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK
There was no one quite like Roberto Luongo. Take a look back at his amazing career in the highlight video below.
Video: Relive the career highlights of Roberto Luongo
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
On the latest episode of the Territory Talk podcast, Doug Plagens and Jameson Olive take a look back at the 2019 NHL Draft, with insights from both Panthers management and picks.
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- Applications are currently open for the 2019-20 Community Champions Grant Program.
-- Fans packed the Panthers IceDen for the final day of development camp.
--Dale Tallon expects a "real positive day" when free agency opens.
-- The Panthers traded goaltender James Reimer to the Carolina Hurricanes.
-- The defensemen of Florida's 2019 draft class are starting to warm up to the area.
-- The Panthers acquired forward Dominic Toninato from the Colorado Avalanche.
-- It's already been an unforgettable summer for defenseman Brady Keeper.
-- Owen Tippet was eager to show off his progress at development camp.
-- The Panthers extended qualifying offers to 10 players.