Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers officially parted ways with captain Ed Jovanovski on Monday, buying out the remaining year on the veteran defenseman's contract.
Jovanovski, who began his 18-year NHL career with the Panthers in 1995, returned to the organization in 2011 but was limited to just 43 games over the past two seasons by a serious hip injury. He appeared in 37 contests in 2013-14, recording one goal, five assists and 39 penalty minutes.
The 38-year-old, selected first overall by Florida in the 1994 NHL Draft, was due to earn $4 million this coming season.
Jovanovski spent his first 3 1/2 seasons with the Panthers before being traded to Vancouver in January of 1999, part of the blockbuster deal that sent All- Star wing Pavel Bure from the Canucks to Florida. After a 6 1/2-year stay in Vancouver, he played five seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes before signing a four-year deal to rejoin the Panthers.
"We sincerely thank Ed for his seven years of service and dedication to the Florida Panthers and the South Florida community," said Panthers general manager Dale Tallon. "He is a true professional in every sense and is well respected throughout the league for the way he handles himself both on and off the ice. This was not an easy decision and we wish him success and happiness in his future endeavors."
A five-time All-Star, Jovanovski has amassed 137 goals and 500 points over 1,128 career NHL games.
The Panthers also announced Monday that they have extended qualifying offers to seven restricted free agents, a group that includes defensemen Erik Gudbrandson, Dmitry Kulikov and Dylan Olsen and forwards Brandon Pirri and Jimmy Hayes.
Forwards Ryan Martindale and Garrett Wilson received tenders as well.