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Florida Panthers buy out Jovanovski's contract, make qualifying offers to 7 other players

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SUNRISE, Florida — The Florida Panthers announced Monday that they completed a compliance buyout of defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who was the team's No. 1 overall draft pick 20 years ago.

The buyout saves the Panthers about $4 million in salary-cap space heading into free agency. Jovanovski has been in the NHL for 18 seasons, parts of seven of those with Florida, where he has long been a fan favorite.

Jovanovski was on the Florida team that went to the Stanley Cup finals in 1996.

Also Monday, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said the team extended qualifying offers to defensemen Erik Gudbranson, Dmitry Kulikov and Dylan Olsen, along with forwards Jimmy Hayes, Ryan Martindale, Brandon Pirri and Garrett Wilson.

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