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Free Agent Focus II


CHICAGO --For all those who wondered why I would take some time off right at the start of free agency, well A) I didn't think the Panthers would be that active based on their current roster and B) well, why not?

Seems as if the Panthers are done for now, although there are some guys still out there JM and FLA can afford.

Monty hasn't signed anywhere yet, so he could still return. As some heard me say on XM Radio's Power Play yesterday, I think it'll be interesting to see if Bo signs an offer sheet somewhere. If he does, I think JM all but has to match. The question posed by (I think) Ron Rimer was that JM could be painted into a corner if Jay is offered a huge raise. I don't think that matters. FLA is already willing to pay Jay a bunch of money to stay in South Florida. The question is whether he decides to do so or not. I'm sure he and his agent know signing an offer sheet somewhere else means he's ultimately signing with the Panthers.

Personally, I like the moves of the past few days. I think Rusty got a bit much for what he's produced so far in his short career, but this was a signing based on potential, and he may have gotten more somewhere else as an RFA and Florida would have been forced to match. I love what Olesz does on both ends of the ice, and his passion and skill in killing off penalties is unrivaled among this current crop of Cats.

And I also like what I've seen over the years in Cory Stillman. He does a lot of things well and may just end up taking Olli's captaincy come training camp.

Have enjoyed reading the back-and-forth from the fans here the past few days. Keep it up. This blog is as conversational as it is entertaining/informative (at least I hope it's entertaining/informative).

Keep the comments coming. The more the merrier.

Will be back in a few days. Keep the blog warm for me.    


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Great Job GR!

Lets hope that trading Ollie (the last piece from the steal of a trade for the Panthers) finnaly "righted" the cosmos. Perhaps now Karma dictates that the Cats will make the playoffs this year.

George, am I off by thinking Jay has no desire to remain a Panther between all the management and roster changes he's seen in his short tenure in the NHL? I've never heard him once talk about liking it down here in south Florida or anything remotely close to the things we heard from Weiss & Horton before they signed their long-term deals. I am very nervous about this situation.

As for the offer sheet, why would Jay sign it if there's any chance JM would match? Then he's stuck here, period. Unless it's to force the Panthers to trade him b/c his salary would be through the roof, I just don't see that happening. JM values d-men more than anything except maybe his goalie, so I'm sure JM is willing to throw mega bucks at him regardless.

On the Olesz signing, we saw guys like Ryder getting around 4 mil and he scored what, 18 goals last year? It's a high risk, high reward contract for the Panthers. If Rusty stays healthy, he can be a 20-20 2-way forward which is worth more than 3.1 mil per year as we see in the FA market. And I think that's the floor for Rusy...I think he could be a 25-35 goal scorer on the top line if he can stay health and continue to develop.

Bouwmeester will NOT sign nor play here. Ain't gonna happen.

anyone know when jbo attains arbitration rights? i thought it was this season, was kind of surprised that no one filed for arbitration (either he or the team). either way it would guarantee him the short contract he seems to want, and would guarantee we would have him under contract for 1-2 years.

as far as remaining free agents, i stick to what i said in the other thread. theres not much interesting left out there. not a fan of the stillman signing, hope im proved wrong.

seems like a lot of folks round here are drinking the off-season kool aid. after 8 years of missing the playoffs i have a hard time getting that optimistic in july

oh yeah, and who else secretly wishes we had signed hordichuk as our yearly nostalgia player :D

I tend to agree on Bouwmeester. Doesn't sound like a guy that wants to stay in Florida which means he could hold out for a one year deal and JM could hold out for more years and he doesn't come to camp. Panthers have extra defensemen to try and force another year out of him if he holds out. And as mentioned I doubt he signs an offer sheet unless it is for so much dough that JM would pass on it but it is hard to see JM not matching any offer.

Stillman was a great signing. Would like to see another one though. Maybe Bertuzzi.

Panthers had to make a qualifying offer to keep the rights to Boumeester, they did this it is a one year deal

not signed yet but if he is intent on leaving that is the deal he signs

Why match the offer? He does not want to be here, and it will be a huge contract. If we don't match a huge number that he will be offered - then we will get a bunch of high draft picks as compensation. Depends on how much he would sign for - but it could be as many as 4 number 1 picks.

Not sure exactly if this is true - but I believe if we don't sign him by certain date (July 30?), then we go to arbitration. This is bad for the panthers - not dollar wise - but it would only be a one-year deal - then he would become a unrestricted free agent after next season.

If Bow really wants out of So. Florida - I don't see him signing an offer sheet - because it would be a long term deal (at least 3+ yrs), which if the Panthers match, he would be stuck in florida.

Judging by recent moves by JM, stocking up heavy on defensemen, he more or less expects Bow to be gone this year or next.

We will see.

Im over bo, although he may change his mind after being on the new locker room.

Kudos on the stillman signing, whether it was smarts by JM, pressure from Tampa moves or from season Tkt holders, I'm impressed and I see a new captain, someone in a panther jersey who has deinked from the cup and knows what it takes. As I posted b4, I would have been disgusted otherwise.

GR keep up the good work

Wait a minute, isn't a Jay an UFA after this season regardless of arbitration?

Coming from a Caniac - I'm with you on suggestions as Stiller for the "C".

I still think we should sign another offenseman free agent. They're still out there. While Matthias and Frolik are highly touted and JM is excited to get them into the lineup, I don't want to rely on unproven rookies. Yes, I was impressed with Matthias last year when he played with the big club and I'm all for giving them a shot in training camp but total reliance on rookies when there are some holes to fill? Seems risky.

Also, what about injuries? Didn't we lead the league last year? Can Stillman play an entire season without injury? We need to pick up another free agent on the cheap (Naslund, Bertuzzi, Barnes, Nolan, Demitra, Sakic, etc.) to ensure that we won't NEED a big March in order to make the playoffs and to keep up with Tampa.

Right now our strrength is defense, and we have extras to spare. It would be nice to see a trade for another top-6 fwd and maybe even an extra one for depth...Not sure how everything with J-BO will go, but as of now I think you have to use J-BO, Skrastins, Ballard, Boynton, Allen, Murphy/Monty/Van Ryn....Personally I think JM will regret signing Allen long term. I know he is only about 27, but I haven't seen enough out of him that makes him a top-4 defenseman. Van Ryn's best days are probably behind him, so we're probably stuck with those guys as our 5th, 6th, 7th defenseman. Our best trade value has to be Noah Welch. He was highly touted at the beginning of last year, but not sure if he still has that value....I'm sure JM wouldn't trade Ballard, but Boynton could possibly be used as trade bait in a package. Now that most of the dust has settled from the free-agent frenzy, I would look for some smaller, but possible valuable moves to come about...Buff, LA, NYR are some of the teams that need D-men.

Sakic will play for the Avs or retire. Guys like Bert, Naslund & Demitra won't be cheap. Personally I'd love to see Demitra here since I highly doubt Naslund would come down here. Our top 6 forwards would then be: Stillman, Demitra, Horton, Olesz, Weiss & Booth. Not bad...

Pittsburgh just signed Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko to 1-year deals. The FA pool is shrinking like a retention pond during the drought.

the attitude on this team will be worth 5 more wins easy! some hard nosed fiery guys now and don't forget belak will be there all season

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