By Jameson Cooper, Staff Writer

In the past few days labor talks between the NHL and NHLPA have finally been heating up as both players and owners begin to show signs of urgency as each day passes.

As talks of revenue sharing and HRR (hockey related revenue) are continuing to be discussed, new items are beginning to be brought up in meeting rooms and one in particular is quite intriguing to most hockey fans. Recently, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that amnesty buyouts were being discussed as a possible addition to the new CBA.

Much like NBA teams were able to amnesty one bad contract after the conclusion of their own lockout just last season, each NHL team would be able to dump one of their lackluster players with no hit against their salary cap.

Now that this proposition is out in the open, let’s look ahead and see what amnesty options the Florida Panthers would have if this clause is indeed added to the next collective bargaining agreement.

Considering the Panthers are in a rebuilding phase and thankfully lack bulky contracts of aging superstars, there are really only two standout options for the Panthers if they are given the right to amnesty a player.

Ed Jovanovski: As beloved as “Jovo Cop” is in South Florida, the Panthers would be in a much better position if they were given the option of severing ties with the aging defender. Jovanovski was signed last season in order to get the Panthers off of the cap-room floor and provide fans with a recognizable face during the club’s rebuilding process in order to help ticket sales. Ironically enough, the Panther’s success last season hurt Jovanovski more than it helped. As the Panther’s begin to improve and contend ahead of schedule, Jovanovski appears to be the odd man out on a now impressive and young blue line. Jovanovski’s $4.125 million dollar cap hit is now a big detriment to the club as they look to improve elsewhere on the team. However, the biggest drawback to Jovanovski’s contract situation is that while the Panthers are forced to play him due to his inflated contract, young defenders such as Keaton Ellerby, Colby Robak and Alex Petrovic are left either as scratches or treading water in the AHL.

Scottie Upshall: For a player that has never sniffed 40 points in a season during his NHL career, many fans were left scratching their heads when the Panthers signed winger Scottie Upshall to a 4 year contract, with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million. Upshall was only able to compete in 26 regular season games last year due to injury. Although he showed flashes of good play on the ice, he will need to be an exceptional player over the next three seasons to merit the size of his contract. The Panther’s would be much better suited to dump Upshall’s contract and roll the dice with one of their younger prospects like Quinton Howden.

About The Author

An English major with a passion for pucks, Jameson has been a credentialed media member covering the Florida Panthers for Panther Parkway since the 2012-2013 season. Although his focus rests mainly with Panther Parkway, Jameson still contributes occasionally to the Sunbelt Hockey Journal. Through player interviews and discussions it's his goal to help bring players closer to their fans through interesting stories and personal pieces. With a unique brand of humor and insight, Jameson looks to provide hockey fans with articles that not only entertain, but also educate.