Sometimes it takes a while to find a new owner for an NHL team. Sometimes names come and go, and a team's future in their city hangs in the balance. Sometimes the team ends up owned by the league for multiple years. Then, on other occasions, a team is able to get sold with relatively little muss and/or fuss, even if that team is in a "non-traditional" hockey market. The Florida Panthers have been sold to new ownership.
The new owner of the Panthers is Vincent Viola, who paid $250 million for the team. In this modern era of ours, that isn't a ton of money to pay for a professional sports team. However, I would imagine the Panthers are the least valuable team in the NHL. They haven't won much in recent years. They don't play in a fancy new arena. They don't seem to have much of a fanbase. So, you know, you don't buy a team like the Florida Panthers unless you really want to own an NHL team.
Still, this is good for the Panthers and their fans. They have stability in ownership now, and their GM Dale Tallon has filled this team with young, promising players. Florida could be good soon. I don't think that will be this year, however, even with their new signing in net.
That signing? Why, Tim Thomas of course. After a year away from the NHL, Thomas wanted to return, and it was the perfect gamble for a team like the Panthers. Thomas signed a one-year deal in the range of $3-4 million according to reports. He has had a bizarre career. He bounced around for a while, before signing with the Bruins in the NHL and, eventually, becoming one of the league's best netminders. He has won multiple Vezinas and a Conn Smythe. He set an NHL record with a .938 save percentage. In his last year in the league, he had a .920 SV% which is very good.
However, he is 39 now, and taking a year off can't help matters. That being said, Florida's goalie situation was really bad. Jacob Markstrom is still considered their goalie of the future, but giving him one year alongside Thomas isn't a bad idea. If Thomas can even be a league average goalie, that would be big for this team. Not enough to get them into the playoffs, but enough to perhaps keep them from vying for the league's worst record. Of course, if Markstrom isn't ready be the guy next season, then they could end up taking a step back.
Still, for now, the Panthers have a new owner and a new goalie and these are both positive things.