CORAL SPRINGS, Fla – The Florida Panthers officially announced the signing of forward John Madden this morning before practice at the Saveology IcePlex in Coral Springs.
“John is a veteran player who brings to our team a wealth of playing experience having won two Stanley Cups with New Jersey and one with Chicago,” said General Manager Dale Tallon in a statment. “He is a hard working and responsible forward who plays well at both ends of the ice and is excellent on face-offs.”
Madden’s two Cups with the New Jersey Devils came in 2000 and 2003, and he followed it up with the 2010 Stanley Cup with Tallon’s Chicago Blackhawks.
He also won a National Championship with the University of Michigan in 1996.
“John’s got a great depth of experience with a couple of quality organizations,” coach Kevin Dineen said.
The 38-year-old is a 12 year veteran of the NHL. He is joining his fourth NHL team. Of his 867 NHL contests, his first 712 were with the Devils, before his one season with the Blackhawks, and last season with the Minnesota Wild. Madden was said to be considering retirement, but was working out in Minnesota when the Panthers made the call to him.
“It feels good to be here, it’s good to be back,” Madden said. “I know a bunch of the guys who have been playing, so it makes me feel real comfortable here.”
Coach Dineen expects him to be a big help where the Panthers need it most.
“I think his identity will always be in the defensive side of the game,” Dineen said. “His ability to take big faceoffs and chew up top minutes against other lines. Right now we’ll continue to evaluate his condition level after not playing the last seven months, and slowly work him into our mix.”
Madden won the Frank J. Selke award in 2001, given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
A defensive-minded forward that can score goals has been one thing the Panthers have been lacking this season. Madden has 345 points over his long career, scoring 162 goals and adding 183 assists. He had 12 goals in 76 games with the Wild last season, where he was a teammate of José Theodore. It was his highest goal total since he scored 20 in 2007-08 with the Devils.
Madden has also played with Scott Clemmensen, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky, Jack Skille, and Brian Campbell.
His strengths are penalty-killing and face-offs. Madden brings with him a career 50.9% face-off percentage.
He also brings a wealth of playoff knowledge. In addition to his Cups and NCAA Championship, Madden has played in the playoffs in 10 of his 12 NHL seasons, all consecutive. He has 21 goals and 22 assists in 134 playoff games, which is more than one-and-a-half NHL seasons.
As for his health, the Panthers will most likely give the center a few days to re-acclimate himself with the NHL. He traveled with the team to New York, but while he may be ready to play, will most likely be scratched for the game. Injured forwards Marcel Goc and Mikael Samuelssen both made the trip as well, and one of the two may start in his place tomorrow.
“The more ice before I play a game would be great, but I could definitely step in tomorrow,” Madden said.
Madden, who has worn number 11 his entire career, will now wear number 10. That number was used by David Booth, before he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks earlier this season
The Panthers will take on the New York Rangers tomorrow, and Madden’s old team, the New Jersey Devils on Friday.
The hearing for Krys Brach was postponed another day. He will most likely meet with NHL and Union officials tomorrow. He was unavailable for comment and the Panthers will make a statement after the situation is addressed with the league.
Tomas Kopecky told reporters today that the situation with the Rangers is over and done with and that he wants to move on. We’ll see if the Rangers agree with Florida’s forward tomorrow night.