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 welcomed four new fresh faces to South Florida last week.
Making a big splash in free agency, the team brought in Sergei Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and the top goalie on the market, Anton Stralman, a veteran defenseman with over 100 games of playoff experience, and versatile forwards Brett Connolly and Noel Acciari.
President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon believes these pieces, as well as the hiring of head coach Joel Quenneville in April, is exactly what the Panthers needed.
"As a group we felt we needed to make some changes to our roster to get it deeper so we could make a good run for the playoffs," Tallon said. "We addressed some needs… We have plenty of scoring ability, plenty of offense. We had to address compete, physicality and goals-against. Those were the concerns we had, and I think we did a good job of addressing those needs."
Video: Welcome New Florida Panthers
While all four players will have a hand in helping Florida get back to the playoffs, Bobrovsky, who inked a seven-year contract, will likely play the biggest role. Dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, the 30-year-old's .921 save percentage ranks second among NHL netminders.
"My main thing is to win," said Bobrovsky, who posted a strong .925 save percentage in this year's playoffs with Columbus. "I want to win the Cup. That's my main purpose. That's why I chose the Panthers."
Since their introductory press conference last Tuesday, FloridaPanthers.com has already done stories on both Bobrovsky and Stralman, while features on Connolly and Acciari are coming this week. All four players will also stop by for a chat on the Territory Talk podcast, so stay tuned!
READING TOUR MAKES TWO STOPS
What could be better than flipping through some pages with the Panthers?
In conjunction with Broward County Libraries, the team will be making two stops on its second-annual Summer Reading Tour this week, visiting the Dan Pearl Library in Sunrise on Thursday (11 AM - 1 PM) followed by the South Regional Library in Pembroke Pines on Friday (1-4 PM).
There will be a special guest reader at each stop as well as fun games for children to enjoy. So far, Panthers forward Jayce Hawryluk and FOX Sports Florida's Randy Moller have both read.
Video: 2019 Panthers Summer Reading Tour
"I loved coming out and seeing the reactions on their faces," Hawryluk said. "It's awesome. Education is just as important as hockey, and it's important that all of these kids know that."
With 10 total stops currently scheduled from June through August, future dates and more information regarding this year's tour can be found at FloridaPanthers.com/ReadingTour.
LAST CHANCE TO BE A CHAMPION
The deadline to submit a Community Champions Grant application is next Monday, July 15th.
Entering its fourth season, the wildly successful grant program, which is presented by Moss & Associates, LLC and the Moss Foundation, has already donated $3 million of its total $5 million, five-year pledge to local 501(c)(3) organizations or government agencies serving South Florida.
At each home game since the program's launch, the Florida Panthers Foundation has awarded a grant for up to $25,000 to a local organization that typically falls under one of four key pillars - health and education for children, veteran's issues, youth hockey or helping the Florida panther.
For a closer look at what the program is all about, check out the stories below from past Community Champions:
- Panthers Help Bring Families Closer at Memorial West NICU
- Florida Wildlife Federation Hopes to Give Panther Safe Passage
- Panthers, HandsOn Broward Team Up to Honor Fallen Parkland Teacher
- Sweet Dream Makers, Panthers Fight for a Good Night's Sleep
If you would like to submit an application to receive a grant during the 2019-20 season before applications officially close on July 15, please visit FloridaPanthers.com/CommunityChampions.
CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK
Sure they can score a one-timer, but can they hit a baseball? Panthers prospects headed to Marlins Park during development camp to find out.
Video: Florida Panthers D-Camp Visits Marlins Ballpark
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
On the latest episode of Territory Talk, Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon joins the show to talk about the team's free agent signings. The biggest name of that bunch, Sergei Bobrovsky, also stops by to talk about why he joined the Panthers.
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- It's already been an unforgettable summer for defenseman Brady Keeper.
-- Owen Tippet was eager to show off his progress at development camp.
-- If you can't make it to all 41, here are six home games you shouldn't miss in 2019-20.
-- Anton Stralman is excited to help the Panthers take off.
-- The Panthers signed forward Joel Lowry and goaltender Philippe Desrosiers to one-year, two-way contracts.
-- Sergei Bobrovsky has his eyes set on a Stanley Cup.
-- Frank Vatrano gave Sergei Bobrovsky a pretty special welcome present.
--Florida inked defensemen Tommy Cross and Ethan Prow to two-year, two-way contracts.
-- Join the single game ticket priority list for the 2019-20 season!