The Miami Herald reports that the Panthers are close to signing 38-year-old center John Madden and could announce a one-year deal with the three-time Stanley Cup champion on Thursday.
According to general manager Dale Tallon, the Panthers are talking to Madden and deciding whether or not “it’s worth” pursuing a deal. Madden, who won the Cup with New Jersey and Chicago, hasn’t played since April 2 against Tampa Bay. He scored 12 goals — his final one on March 17 — with the Wild last season.
“We’re still talking right now,” Tallon said on Wednesday afternoon as rumors swirled of Madden’s impending signing. “Yeah, something could happen [Thursday]. We’ll see. I just don’t know.”
The big question is Madden’s physical shape. Tallon said that’s a concern because it might take Madden some time to get the rust off. Florida currently has seven forwards on the injured list. Stephen Weiss and Mikael Samuelsson skated on their own before the Panthers’ workout Wednesday. Weiss could be back for Friday’s game against the Rangers.
“We don’t know how long that’s going to take and when we’re getting some other guys back,” Tallon said. “That’s the big question mark. But John has always been a good skater. And he’s a pretty solid guy, has been for a long time.”
Assistant coach Craig Ramsay said even if Madden were signed Thursday, his status for Friday’s game against the Rangers would be in question. But the Panthers like what Madden would bring to the team. Madden is a strong faceoff guy and would help the Panthers up the middle of the ice. Madden has been working out in the Minneapolis area. Panthers coach Kevin Dineen was unavailable for comment Wednesday after leaving practice early because of a doctor’s appointment.
“We have to get him in and get him taken care of physically,” Ramsay said. “We don’t know where his conditioning is. He’s a veteran guy who has played in some pretty good spots and knows what it takes to win. … You have to look at a veteran player who has been around, he’s been durable and knows how to play the game. He knows the game. Those guys find a way to play. That’s what we’re hoping for.”