Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Rory Boylen at The Hockey News,
Here are a few teams who I think could achieve more than is expected of them this season:
Florida Panthers: I’ve ripped on them in this space before – and until the front office does something smart, I’m sure I’ll do it again – but the potential is still there for the Panthers to rise.
You’ve got to think that, one of these years, Nathan Horton will meet the expectations of being a No. 3 overall draft pick. While he has not impressed and actually stalled his point production at 62 points last season, Horton could be ready for a 70- to 75-point campaign. If he can meet this goal and if incoming offensive catalyst Cory Stillman can kick-start Stephen Weiss, the Panthers could generate more than the pathetic 216 goals they scored last season.
read on for more on the Panthers, plus two other picks for overachievers this coming season
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
The Panthers defenseman has endured four surgeries—three on his right wrist alone—as he has tried to regain the strength and power that fueled his slapshot and helped him become one of Florida’s top players at the position.
Van Ryn missed 62 games last season after having his second surgery on his right wrist in less than a year.
‘‘I feel awesome now,’’ said Van Ryn, who spent last week helping coach a youth camp in Coral Springs. ``I look at other guys around the league. It took [Edmonton Oilers defenseman] Sheldon Souray a while to get his right. It can be a difficult surgery. I’m just excited to play, try and contribute and help the Panthers win some games.’‘
read on including how Van Ryn feels about the trade rumors…
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
They’d have to start with a trade package of forwards Scottie Upshall ($1.225 million) and Steve Downie ($821,000). Downie played briefly under recently hired Panthers coach Peter DeBoer when both were with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario League.
The Panthers would need a defenseman as part of the package and the Flyers could free another $2.75 million of cap space by trading Randy Jones.
That would give the Flyers plenty of cap room to take on Bouwmeester, who almost certainly would negotiate a long-term extension that takes him well past unrestricted free agency next summer.
But the Panthers would need more for Bouwmeester than Upshall, Downie and an overpriced Jones. A deal maker would be James van Riemsdyk, the second player taken overall in last year’s draft who will play for the University of New Hampshire this season.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Even if they get off to a great start, even if they look like a playoff team, will it be enough to keep Bouwmeester in sandals for the long haul? Rookie head coach Pete De Boer represents the fifth head coach to pilot the Panthers since Bouwmeester arrived in the fall of 2002, with Mike Keenan, Rick Dudley, John Torchetti and Martin having all had at least a brief twirl at the post.
And so the Panthers face the grisly prospect that after years of showing so little whatever, they might show in the coming months it might not be nearly enough to keep yet another core piece from sliding away in a market where all too few people care to begin with.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
So let’s get this straight, shall we? Bouwmeester is now going to sit back and wait to see if the Panthers have improved enough and are on the road to respectability before gracing them with a decision on whether or not he’ll return?
When exactly does Bouwmeester himself begin to accept some of the responsibility for the on-ice fortunes of the Panthers? If he’s supposed to be their undisputed No. 1 defenseman, shouldn’t he be expected to have a major part in leading the way to the Panthers becoming a playoff team?
According to George Richards of On Frozen Pond, Jay Bouwmeester has signed a one year deal with the Panthers.
Updated 12:56pm ET (alanah): From from George Richards at On Frozen Blog —
On the surface, this doesn’t look like the Panthers accomplish much since Jay would have received a one-year deal tomorrow anyway. Hearing the deal is for $4.8 million, and the Panthers felt he could have received as much as $5.5 tomorrow.
The one thing this does is create some good will between the two sides. The fact these two could come to some sort of agreement means Jay may be amenable for something else later one. Signing before going to arbitration eliminates some bad vibes that could come out of the hearing.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Have spoken to a number of folks within the organization (none of whom own the initials J.M.) and even a couple of players. Not one thinks Jay signs a long-term deal here before his hearing, and only one said he expects Jay to be here come the start of the 2009-10 season. It appears to me that there isn’t just one reason why Jay isn’t a big fan of the Panthers; there are quite a few issues here.
Jay’s agent told our Barry Jackson that he rejected the Panthers most recent offer (I have heard almost $6 million per for six years but cannot get that confirmed by the agent nor JM) and they are preparing for arbitration. Which is their right. And, I’ve been told, the Panthers will give Jay whatever the arbiter rules he’s worth for the coming season and roll the dice hoping to keep him.
from Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post,
The Panthers, trying to increase ticket revenue and stimulate season-ticket sales, designated five of their first 16 home games as so-called premium games when the NHL announced its 2008-09 schedule Thursday.
Visits by the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens are among the games that will carry a $25 surcharge on every single-game ticket. Season tickets and other ticket packages will be exempt from the surcharge.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
There is a thought the Panthers secretly hoped Bouwmeester would sign an offer sheet with another NHL team this summer, giving the Panthers a chance to match the deal and lock Bouwmeester in long-term.
Since Bouwmeester elected to go to arbitration, he cannot sign with another team; Martin said the Panthers aren’t going to trade him.
‘‘We’re confident we’ll get something done,’’ Martin said. ``That’s our approach right now. That’s the way we’re going. We still are having discussions. It’s been a process that’s been good on both parts. It hasn’t been ugly. It’s been healthy discussions from both sides. We’re just trying to find a meaningful pay scale he’ll be happy with.’‘
From George Richards at On Frozen Pond,
Only a few people—Jay Bouwmeester, his agent and perhaps JM the GM—know whether Florida’s No. 4 wants to continue his relationship with the Panthers much longer.
Jay has already decided to take the Panthers to arbitration, which means the thoughts he would sign an offer sheet with another team is over. For now, it’s the Panthers or no one for Jay. But there are a few options.
From Kevin Oklobzija at the Democrat and Chronicle:
Rory Fitzpatrick, who spent much of last season in the American Hockey League, agreed today to terms on a two-way contract with the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
Fitzpatrick, 33, will very likely play much of next season with the Rochester Americans, unless Florida suffers injuries on its defense or he performs exceptionally well in training camp.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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