Nov 17, 2013; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets center Derek MacKenzie (24) celebrates with left wing Blake Comeau (14) his goal scored against the Ottawa Senators in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre.The Blue Jackets defeated the Senators 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers Get Value In Derek MacKenzie

In what has already been a busy first day of free agency for the Florida Panthers, they have added another talented veteran to their roster with Derek MacKenzie.

MacKenzie (33), spent his first six seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers, bouncing between the NHL and AHL throughout. He was then signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007, where he spent time in AHL Springfield, as well as up in the NHL with Columbus. MacKenzie didn’t become a mainstay in the Blue Jackets roster until the 2010-11 season, where he played in 63 games, totaling 9 goals and 14 assists.

During the 2013-14 season, MacKenzie averaged 11.1 minutes of ice time, the highest of his career. He also posted a career high in CF% (49.2%) and RelCF% (+4.4%).

With MacKenzie, the Florida Panthers get a veteran presence and a defensive forward, who is fresh off some playoff experience with the Columbus Blue Jackets. While he did post 23 points in the 2010-11 season, he has yet to match that offensive performance again. Last season he finished with 9 goals and 9 assists for 18 points.

While it is somewhat surprising to see the Blue Jackets let MacKenzie go for such a small sum, it does make sense. The Blue Jackets are getting younger and have a plethora of options waiting to make the jump from the AHL. MacKenzie, at age 33 no longer had a role in Columbus. MacKenzie is an excellent value pickup by the Florida Panthers.

Tags: Derek MacKenzie Florida Panthers NHL Free Agency

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