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'Southern' Ontario

MatsWas playing golf yesterday with a couple former Panthers, and the idea was floated that Mats Sundin may have some interest in coming south.

Way south.

A pending free agent here in the coming days, Montreal holds the Toronto captain's exclusive negotiating rights until July 1 (although sportsnet.ca reports the Rangers previous held those rights).

Sundin, 37, will have plenty of offers. According to the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby, Wade Belak says he's trying to recruit Sundin to the Sunshine State.

Like I said yesterday, I don't see it happening. But it would be cool. "You could slap that C right on the sweater,'' one said. "And he can play golf in the middle of December. Win, win.''

And maybe it'll snow in Miami again this winter. I mean, it could happen.

-- Memo to Mats: Florida doesn't have a province tax, much less a state tax.

You do have to pay sales tax on your greens fees, but I don't see that being a problem since, well, you won't be paying to play golf.

Stockholm Bac -- Memo to Mats II: Little known fact, but Sunrise is known as Little Stockholm; Parkland known as Little Brammo. It'll be like being home, only with a tad more heat and humidity.

-- TSN.ca has a timeline and kind of an update on the Sundin deal. Says there that he is taking his time, and a decision on where he plays next season won't be figured out until after the July 1 free agency signing period begins.

-- Memo to Mats III: They just opened up a new IKEA in Sunrise. In fact, on busy days, folks park at the Panthers arena and get shuttled down the road to do their shopping. I don't think you would have to take the shuttle. Love those meatballs!

-- Don't know if you heard, but Tampa Bay is set on hiring Barry Melrose to be its new coach. This one came out of left field. The Lightning really did a good job keeping a lid on this one. No leaks there.

-- Memo to Mats IV: The Panthers are well aware your birthday is Feb. 13. If you sign with Florida, they are willing to have Valentine's Day celebrated a day early in honor of your birthday throughout Broward, Monroe, Palm Beach and Collier counties. Miami-Dade County has yet to agree. "They still have a hockey team up there?,'' one county commissioner asked. "Can the Marlins play in their arena?"

-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting Gary Roberts is going to continue his NHL career, only it won't be in the Steel City. GR is going to be a free agent come July 1.

Since Joe Nieuwendyk is expected to be working for the Maple Leafs come July 2, expect tons of speculation that GR returns to Toronto and dons the Blue and White for one more season. The Leafs are going to have a young team, and without Mats, could use some veteran leadership. Gary could be that veteran presence.

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Signing Sundin would just be like getting Olli back, if Olli was 8 years older. This is not what this team needs. Can we please stop giving out retirement contracts?

If they give Bouwmeester an extention to something like Horton's and pay him 4-5 per season then sign Sundin that would leave us with about 3 mil in salary cap space. And we have to resign Olesz and ponder giving Booth an extension.

We don't have the money. Not to mention this team played at 8 mil below the cap last year, so whats to say we'd buck up this year?

I'd much prefer we go after some underpirced vets and see if they can mesh into a unit on this squad. Why not go after vets like Yanic Perreault, Mike York, Bryan Smolinski, Michael Ryder, Brian Rolston.

This team took the 2nd most penalties in the NHL last year. That's what needs to change and that happens when you have veterans on your team who don't get screwed by officials on the ice. Well, that and if the Hurricanes would stop diving all the time.

Melrose as the coach of the Lightning came out of left field?
This has been on the rumor block since before Tortorella was even given the axe:

http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/sports/comments/barry-melrose-to-the-lightning/

Uh Tony, that was GR's version of typed sarcasm. Meaning as you say it was the worst kept secret in the NHL.

Tony, I think you missed the "Sarcasm Mode=On" setting on George's post.

Here's a thought - JM is positioning this team to picking up Tavares in next year's draft.

Not a terrible idea, but doing this would persist the culture of losing in the Panthers' organization.

Positioning for Tavares next year is a reach, it's way under 50% of the time that the worst team ended up with the #1 pick. Tampa this year was an expection. GR, what's the % at? I bet it's around like 30% without looking...

You want me to do math? I would say 30 percent is pretty close. Factor in the "Luck of the Panthers" and it's probably 3.4 percent. Florida could finish dead last and likely end up with the third pick. JM is not in a rebuilding mode, not with Tomas Vokoun back there...

Sundin is not what this team needs? an 80+ point center who's a proven leader?

who would want that?

true, he is a comparable player to Jokinen in terms of on-ice ability, but the reason Olli was dealt wasn't because of his on-ice ability. Sundin is a very good leader by all accounts so bringing him in would add a true captain to a squad that has desperately needed it for a decade now - and would replace Jokinen's scoring all in one package.

signing him would be a brilliant move. Olli was only locked up for 2 years, anyway, so if Mats comes down here for 2 seasons it would be like getting Ballard and Boynton essentially free.

Acquiring Mats would certainly fill the void that we have but he will be looking for too much money; money that ownership is unwilling to dole out. Besides, the other blogger had it correct about resiging JayBo, Olesz, and extending Booooooth.

Go for cheaper and younger UFA's and I mean that in the plural sense. Relying on guys like Stumpel, Peltonen, Dvorak, McLean, Campbell, and Kreps just simply won't cut it. Get ready for a loooooong season.

Stump on waivers, to prep for the buyout.

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