The third day of free agency is just wrapping up and the Rochester Americans are a better hockey team. It was reported that free agent center Jeff Taffe has agreed to a two year two way contract with the Florida Panthers and Amerks.
The front office at Blue Cross Arena has been saying they would be active in bringing in veteran players and I think this is proof that we can believe them.
Jeff Taffe should be the veteran first line center that the Amerks have needed for a few years now. Last season he scored 25 goals and 50 assists in 74 games in the American Hockey League with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. That is a point a game player. Taffe also played in eight games for the Pittsburgh Penguins and assisted on two goals.
This is an excellent player to be signed. If you have doubted the Panthers, Curt Styres, or Lewis Staats then this should give you more reason to believe.
A team does not win because of one player, but it’s a start.
Kevin Oklobzija had these two quotes from Staats in his blog:
“We’ve made a certain level of financial commitment to get these deals done,” Staats said.
“Florida was involved in these calls within a couple hours after the free-agent market opened up,” Staats said.
In a short span of three days we’ve seen Ted Nolan signed as the new VP of Hockey Operations, Jeff Taffe signed as the teams #1 center, and Clay Wilson signed to join the defensive ranks. Taffe and Wilson are both on two way deals and could be called up if needed by the Panthers, but that’s the risk you take with bringing on any additions to an American Hockey League team.
Taffe will be joined by Shawn Matthias and David Brine (assuming he is signed) so there is still room for one more center.
Curt Styres told me on Wednesday that they have been working since January on the list of players that they wanted to sign and it looks like things are starting to happen.