SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Panthers agreed to terms Thursday with defenceman Ari Vallin.
Vallin, 28, played in 50 games for Karpat in the Finnish Elite League last season, scoring seven goals with 23 assists. In 478 regular-season games in his native Finland, Vallin had 42 goals and 99 assists.
He played an important role in helping Karpat win Finnish Elite League championships in 2004 and 2005. He is best known for scoring the overtime goal that gave Karpat the title in 2004 against Turku TPS.
Vallin had 19 points in 76 career post-season games.
"A man, who will always be remembered in Northern Finland. With Vallin's goal, Kärpät won the championship after 23 years. Vallin, who was born in Ylöjärvi, started his hockey career in Tappara, and after that he has played for HPK and Jokerit. Vallin has also won a championship with Jokerit. He was a member of the 1998 Junior World Champioship team."
A skilled and fast (offensive) defenceman, who has the culture to win. Can catch up forwards with his skating. Because of his good skating, he likes to help the forwards at the other end of the ice.
He has a huge amount of potential, but the challenge is to use all of that potential.
A puckhandling defenceman, who is also needed at PP. Without question one of the most important defencemen for Kärpät.
There was problem with signing dates. NHL did not approve earlier contract and Ari needed to get off from contract with Kärpät (I think that Florida needed to buy Vallin's contract out first). This is why this took so long. Even agents or teams dont know perfectly these new transaction rules.
Vallin is good in offensive, but too soft in defence. Very fast and talented skater, but I'm not sure is he good (read - hard) enough to play in the NHL. Good eye in the blueline and can produce nice goals sometimes, expecially because players there dont know his tricks.
Kärpät has lost 3 best defenders... hard times here.