Source: Panthers to sign John Madden

Updated: December 28, 2011, 7:43 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

The injury-riddled Florida Panthers are expected to sign center John Madden to a one-year deal as early as Thursday, a source said Wednesday.

Madden, 38, played last season with the Minnesota Wild and the year before was part of Chicago's Stanley Cup-winning team. He also won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils.

Madden, an unrestricted free agent, had been working out and trying to stay in shape in case a team sought him out.

The Panthers have been one of the surprise teams in the Eastern Conference this season and lead the Southeast Division with a six-point lead over the second-place Winnipeg Jets.

But the Panthers have also been decimated by injuries of late, and general manager Dale Tallon told ESPN.com that with seven forwards out of action, Madden represented one of the team's possible options.

The Panthers have not made the playoffs since 2000.

Scott Burnside is an NHL writer for ESPN.com.