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Panthers sign pair to AHL deals

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club, parent team for the AHL’s Rochester Americans, has signed goaltender Brian Foster and defenseman Mike Kostka to American Hockey League contracts.

“We’re excited to bring in two solid players like Foster and Kostka,” said Tallon. “Foster has been in our system for some time and I’m looking forward to seeing him progress after a solid college career at New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Kostka is coming off a good year and I look for him to be an asset to our defense this season.”

Foster, 23, who signed a two-year deal, enters his first professional season in 2010-11 after completing his senior campaign at the University of New Hampshire. Last season with the Wildcats, the Pembroke, N.H., native posted a 17-4-7 record with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 38 games.

In his four seasons (2006-10) between the pipes for UNH, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound netminder compiled a 40-29-13 record with a 2.82 GAA, a .910 save percentage and five shutouts in 86 appearances. Foster was the Panthers’ fifth-round selection in the 2005 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Kostka, 25, whose contract will take him through the coming season, spent the last two seasons with the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates, where he finished second among team defensemen in scoring both years. Last season in Portland, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound blueliner recorded 27 points (2g, 25a) along with a career-high 37 penalty minutes, in addition to appearing in four postseason contests.

The Etobicoke, Ont., native posted his best season in 2008-09, capturing career highs in goals (4), assists (26) and points (30), while skating in all 80 games. In his pro career, Kostka has registered 57 points (6g, 51a) and 72 penalty minutes in 157 total games, including one with Rochester during the 2007-08 campaign.