The young will lead the Panthers next season according to general manager Dale Tallon, who announced Thursday that the club will not offer new contracts to unrestricted free agents Scottie Upshall and Tomas Kopecky.
"I like young teams, I like young players," Tallon said to reporters. "We have some good young players in our system and we’re going to give them an opportunity. I think that’s the direction we need to go in."
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The 31-year-old Upshall and 33-year-old Kopecky both saw significant time as healthy scratches this season while the Panthers nearly made the playoffs on the strength of its young players. Three of the Panthers' top five scorers — Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad and Aaron Ekblad — were under 24 years old this season.
The Panthers seemingly want to continue to get younger, as Tallon said the organization is highly interested in the crop out of this year's draft.
"There are a lot of different good young players in this draft that fit our needs, so we’ll see what happens," Tallon told reporters. "If something shakes up and there’s a startling pick in the first 10, that opens up more possibilities for us."
But the Panthers do have one outlier to raise the team's average age; Florida re-signed 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr to a one-year deal early this offseason.