Panthers’ Tierney Signing Adds Veteran Presence to Locker Room

The Florida Panthers jumped into the offseason with not a lot of room to work with in cap space. However, they managed to walk away with some pieces from the bargain bin, including forwards such as Nick Cousins and Rudolfs Balcers. In addition, they made arguably the biggest trade this summer in getting former Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. Furthermore, they look to add more potential veteran pieces, such as Eric Staal, via professional tryouts (PTO).

One player they managed to get was a veteran forward who’s seen over 500 games and played in the Stanley Cup Final six years ago in former Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney. The 28 year-old native of Keswick, Ontario signed a one-year deal worth $750,000 on July 16.

Tierney’s Career So Far

Tierney was originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He wouldn’t play his first NHL game until the 2014-15 season. In his rookie season, he dressed for 43 games, tallying only 21 points (six goals, 15 assists). The next season, he got tossed into the whirlwind that was playoff hockey. In addition, he got to live every hockey kid’s dream and play in all six games in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, he learned the hard way about going far in the postseason and coming up short that year. In total, he played in 40 career playoff games, all with San Jose, scoring five goals and assisting on seven others.

Chris Tierney Ottawa Senators
Chris Tierney, former Ottawa Senator (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In the offseason of 2018, he was traded to the Senators in a package deal with Balcers and defenseman Dylan DeMelo for defenseman and former captain Eric Karlsson. In his first season with the Sens, he tallied a new career high in points with 48 (nine goals, 39 assists) through 81 games played. He spent the next three seasons with the organization. Over the course of eight seasons, he’s played in 561 games, piling up a grand total of 226 points (73 goals, 153 assists).

What Tierney Brings to the Panthers

The Panthers unfortunately lost some major pieces of their bottom six this offseason. This includes Noel Acciari, Maxim Mamin, and Mason Marchment. Although he is not seen as a permanent solution, he will serve as a stop-gap until their prospects are ready to roll. In addition, assuming he plays beyond expectations, he could receive a new contract to stick around, much like how Ryan Lomberg was given a new deal just a couple of seasons ago for his performance. With his new teammates in Anton Lundell, Cousins and Lomberg, he could easily solidify Florida’s depth and their bottom-six forwards.

Related: Meet the New Florida Panthers Assistant Coaches

Tierney’s playoff experience could be a boost to this younger Panthers team as well. He has been through the wash when it comes to playoff hockey, including nearly getting his day with the Cup. With that in mind, he can use it in case the team makes a big push for the playoffs and pass down lessons to those who are not used to the atmosphere like Sam Reinhart, who got his first crack at it just this past season. In addition, it could help players who struggled in the playoffs throughout their career such as the captain in Barkov.

Players with playoff experience have been somewhat of a theme with general manager Bill Zito’s free agency period with the addition of Cousins, Marc and Eric Staal and Tkachuk.

Tierney Will Be Reconnected With Some Familiar Faces

During his time in Ottawa during the 2018-19 season, Tierney was playing with some current Panther forwards in Anthony Duclair, Colin White and Balcers. The Sens finished as the worst team in the NHL that year with a record of 29-47-6 with only a measly 64 points. Not only will he be reunited with both of them, they’ll make him feel as if he never left the Senators, with the only exception being the warm weather nearly all year long. In addition, their new team can show they’ve grown up from the bottom of the barrel from five seasons ago.

Tierney is a Fine Addition to Sunrise

Tierney provides veteran depth to the bottom six while also giving the team valuable playoff experience for a low price at less than $1 million. In addition, he could also provide some relief for the Charlotte Checkers down in the American Hockey League.

Related: Panthers Have Potential Veteran 3rd String Goalie with Hammond

Of course, Tierney is far from the likes of top talents such as Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid. But his veteran influence will help players on the team now and in the future. In addition, he could see this as another opportunity to rejuvenate his career, much like how other players on the roster came about. The future is unknown for Tierney, but he’ll be in good hands with the Panthers.

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