Three months after getting traded to the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline, Brandon Montour is staying in South Florida after agreeing to a three-year contract.
Montour, who was going to be an unrestricted free agent at the opening of the free agency window Wednesday, is expected to get a $10.5 million contract that carries an average annual value (AAV) of $3.5 million.
Montour Returns to Panthers
At the trade deadline in April, Panthers general manager Bill Zito acquired Montour from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2021 third-round draft pick. In 39 games for Buffalo in 2020-21, Montour had five goals and nine assists. In 12 games with the Panthers in the regular season, he had two goals and two assists, but he improved his plus/minus to a plus-8, after a not-so-surprising minus-13 with the struggling Sabres. Like a lot of teammates, Montour struggled in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a minus-4 in six games.
Montour was drafted 55th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2014 Entry Draft. After three seasons with the Ducks, he was traded to Buffalo at the trade deadline in February of 2019 for Brendan Guhle and the Sabres 2019 first-round pick. His best season in Buffalo was in the shortened 2019-20 season when he had five goals and 13 assists with a plus-13.
More Work for Florida to Do
Zito has been active in clearing money off of the books in Florida. On July 15, he bought out veteran defensemen Keith Yandle and Monday, he traded Anton Stralman to the Arizona Coyotes for a seventh-round draft pick. Sending out Yandle and Stralman has freed up money for Zito to spend.
Freeing up some of that money helped signed Montour, who rejoins a defensive unit that includes Aaron Ekblad, MacKenzie Weegar, Radko Gudas, Gustav Forsling, and Montour. In early July, Zito re-signed the 25-year-old Forsling to a three-year deal after he had five goals and 12 assists in 43 games for the Panthers in 2020-21.
Florida is not done, as they have around $9 million in cap space heading into the official start of free agency. After coming off a strong 2020-21 season and with divisions returning to the normal setup, the Panthers return to the Atlantic Division with the Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins, all playoff teams from last season.
Scott Roche covers the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. A frequent user of the Oxford comma. Scott has been a sports writer for 25 years for different sites and daily newspapers. Writing started out as a hobby, but it has become a passion for Scott over the years.