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Panthers sign two free agents

Associated Press

Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts wanted the chance to finish their careers together. The Florida Panthers sought savvy veterans to mold their young talent into winners.

“It’s a very attractive situation,” Nieuwendyk said.

Indeed, for both sides. The Panthers made the first move in hockey’s free agent signing period Monday, signing the four-time All-Star center Nieuwendyk and longtime left wing Roberts away from the Toronto Maple Leafs less than 90 minutes after the window for new moves opened.

Nieuwendyk, who’s won the Stanley Cup with three franchises, and Roberts will both receive $4.5 million over the next two years from Florida – which hasn’t won a playoff game since 1997.

Roberts is 39, Nieuwendyk 38. They join a locker room in Florida stacked with potential, like goaltender Roberto Luongo, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, and centers Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton and Olli Jokinen – none of whom are older than 26.

Carlyle will lead Mighty Ducks

Former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Randy Carlyle was hired as the new coach of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, completing the makeover of a team that also has changed owners and general manager this year.

Carlyle, 49, replaces Mike Babcock, who left the Ducks to become the Detroit Red Wings’ coach.

Anaheim GM Brian Burke considers Carlyle a perfect fit for his own hockey philosophy.

“I wanted to find a coach that matches my intensity level. I hate to lose,” Burke said at a news conference. “I know Randy hates to lose as much as I do.”

Around the league

Miroslav Satan became an unrestricted free agent after the Buffalo Sabres declined to make a qualifying offer to the team’s six-time scoring leader. … Boston acquired forward Brad Isbister from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for the Bruins’ fourth-round draft pick in the 2006 NHL draft.

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