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‘I don’t feel secure': Kopecky nervous about spot on Florida roster

Edmonton Oilers v Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 5: Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck during a NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers at the BB&T Center on November 5, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida.

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery

With over 500 games of experience, one Stanley Cup and a four-year deal worth $12 million, Tomas Kopecky is a pretty well-established NHLer.

Which makes it weird to think that he’s worried about job security. From the Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Fast forward to Wednesday’s practice with Kopecky skating on the fourth line with Derek MacKenzie and Shawn Thornton. Suddenly the 32-year-old left wing isn’t taking anything for granted, including health and job security.

“No, I don’t feel secure. I have to earn it, not only for a job but you’re fighting for ice time,’' Kopecky said after practice at the Ice Den. “You have a new coaching staff and you try to earn their trust. It’s simple things, pay attention to details. I don’t think anybody should be secure with a spot here.

“I know [GM Dale Tallon] isn’t afraid to mix up things and he’s showed it. I don’t take for granted I’m going to be on this team.’'

Kopecky, 32, scored 25 goals over his first two years in Florida and enjoyed a banner lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, averaging a career-high .52 points per game. But a serious concussion suffered while playing for Slovakia at the Olympics derailed him last season and, with Florida brass showing they’re comfortable burying veteran money in the minors (Dan Ellis and his $1 million salary was recently shipped off to AHL San Antonio), Kopecky is nervous about his future.

As mentioned above, Kopecky’s in the last of his four-year deal, with an average annual cap hit of $3 million. While it’s unlikely the Panthers would want to eat that kind of money, the club does have a plethora of young talent looking to break through up front. The team currently has 31 players on its training camp roster, which includes 18 forwards.