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National Signing Day ... Panthers Day of Rest ... Homeward Bound

Deboersign TORONTO -- The Panthers are off to a good start here on national signing day, and could have a top 10 class, according to rivalstarprepwatcher.net

So far today, the Panthers signed St. Thomas Aquinas goalie Rob Timpson (national three star by rivalstarprepwatcher and a 4 1/2 star by whatyoutalkinboutwillis.com).

Florida has also received signed scholarship papers from Fort Lauderdale Dillard defenseman Steve Blake (13 goals, 11 assists last year for the BCAA runners-up) and Cooper City's Luke Daniels (he's a center now, but is probably going to be a winger, coach Mark Rael says).

The big name so far has to be five-star prospect Ronnie Booth, cousin to Panthers' winger David Booth, a senior at East Lansing Senior High in Michigan. They say the kid can fly.

''Yeah, I sold him on the Panthers,'' David Booth said. ''Detroit offered him, but not until real late in the process. The Panthers were right with him all the way. He felt comfortable here, he likes the coaching staff. Mike Kitchen was his recruiter and was at a lot of his hockey games. They went fishing. Detroit just visited once or twice.''

Pete DeBoer and Jacques Martin are still out recruiting right now, and plan on having a big signing day press conference in Sunrise later on this afternoon.

We'll have updates throughout the day as we are waiting on Orlando Bishop Moore's Dave Karpowski to decide on the Panthers, Tampa Bay or Chicago. He's said to be a soft commit to Chicago, but the Panthers think they can land him. We'll see.

-- Slow day for the Panthers, save for the big national signing day festivities and all. The team pulled a rare move and stayed the night in Toronto, a move that looked even better after they came back and won. Seriously, that was one of the most exciting wins I've witnessed in my years covering this team. Down 3-1 in the third, on the road, fairly hostile environment. Good win for sure.

Mccabe4 We were talking about this last night, but not only does Pete DeBoer have to be in serious running for coach of the year, but Jacques Martin has to be in the discussion for executive of the year. If this team makes the playoffs, you have to think both will get serious nods.

JM has made some pretty good moves this year, no? You like Bryan McCabe, Cory Stillman, Keith Ballard and even DeBoer?

Say what you want about him locking up Rostislav Olesz long-term to big bucks (that isn't looking real good now, but patience), but JM's other moves have been pretty good.

Of course, the big test comes in a few weeks with one Mr. Bouwmeester.

-- The Panthers have today off after flying home this morning, on ice tomorrow at the arena at 10:30. Kickoff against the Islanders at 7:30.

-- Oh, big surprise here! TSN is reporting that Immokkalee's Javon James -- cousin to Javarris and Edgerrin -- has just signed with the Panthers after committing early to Phoenix, apparently to be closer to Edge.

Javon James is a bruising forward, setting the Immokkalee record for goals and points in a career and he got to the Florida Frozen Four in Lakeland twice. This is a big signing for the Panthers, and should cement their standing as having a top five class this year. 



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JM's worst moves:

1: Olesz being signed for 6 years. He is a huge question mark!
2: Wasting a pick on Kilger. (Yes we did get a pick from TOR in the McCabe deal but its a lower pick.) Either way you look at it, Kilger never played a minute for the Panthers. It's a loss!

other than those two moves, he has done a fantastic job!

Good news that Booth got his cousin signed on to the Florida Panthers.

This 100% means that Booth will be signing something close to a 6 year deal with the team.

Feel better Boooooooth! and Voky!


As much as I enjoy your column, and agree with it on average 97% of the time, you must admit that Olesz is a total waste-oid. He's as brittle as the starting left-winger for the Century Village team.

And all that money? Look, he could have already signed up Booth longterm with that. ..instead he pee'd it away on the guy who's redecorating Olli's joint.

Good job..perhaps, exec of the year? Not a chance.

as we sit here today, the olesz signing looks week, but certinlyyou must applaud the effort in signing young talent long term. Its nice to see the franchise commiting, and occassionly it will backfire.

The best move was the removal of him as coach..he was stifling....

I believe that getting Stratskins was a great move and highly overlooked. Next to Bo, he gets the tough assignments and the heavy minutes. He sacrifices his body and is a great defensive defenseman. He (and JM)deserve much more recognition for his work here.

JM for Executive of the Year? No, unless we get into the playoffs and past the 2nd round. Ownership has given JM the $$$ this year to make this franchise a winner.

Acquired Ballard & Boynton for Jokinen;
Signed Ballard long term;
Acquired McCabe for Van Ryn;
Signed Bryan Allen long term (fair market contract);
Signed Horton long term (fair market contract the guy had 2 good years);
Signed Weiss long term (fair market contract);
Signed Olesz long term;
Acquired Stratskins for Selei, in part, to save money;
Acquired Cory Stillman;
Resigned Cullimoore to a 1-year deal;
Acquired TVo for draft picks; and
Signed Coach PDeb.

Olesz is injury prone and gets too much money for his contract;
Acquired Kilger from Toronto fro draft picks but he's never played for the team; and
Signed Belak to a 2-year deal, only to trade him during the season.

Signed McLean to a 3-year deal;
Signed Stumpel to a 2-year deal, then bought him out; and
Signed Cory Murphy to a 2-year deal, then traded him.

Let's see what happens to JayBo.
Let's see how he handles David Booth.

Hindsight is 20-20...

Olesz is going to be a ding on Martin's resume, but the kid was showing great promise last year. I agree the gun was jumped with a 6 year deal, but if he continued to develop into a 20 goal scoring 2-way forward, it would have been a bargain. That's the risk you take in today's NHL...

I can't really fault Martin for the Stumpy signing. Stumpy had a great year and Martin was trying to keep the chemistry from the 2nd half of that season to launch us into playoff contenders the following fall. It just didn't work out that way, mostly IMO due to injuries.

The best moves by Martin by a landslide have been 1) signing DB. Period. Period. Period. and 2) Ballard/Boyton and 3) McCabe. Our defense is really really good! We lead the NHL in defensive scoring which is insane. Martin set out to shore up the defense and he did just that.

I can't remember if Martin drafted Frolik or not, but another huge move. Our forward corps was a huge concern for me, and at times we have our scoring slumps, but we have balance with Frolik's emergence. Mac has been really disappointing after a couple good seasons with 15-20 goals, but the CPR line has really stepped up.

I like where this team is headed...with or without JayBo.

I also like where this team is headed with or without J-Bo. They have their destiny in their own hands for the first time in years...Usually, they are 8 pts back and played more games than all the others. This year they are in the top 8, with games in hands on some teams. I look for the Rangers, Habs, and possibly Flyers to fall a bit...Pittsburgh is due to come on, but I don't see why we might not even be looking at a 6 or 7 seed down the road....Yes it may be wishful thinking, but I am a believer again...

Kudos to JM the gm for finally getting some positive feedback. Yes, I still believe J-Bo has to go if he won't sign here before March 4th...Yes J-Bo helps, but JM looks better and better now that the team has greatly improved. I also think he's gone long enough and it may be time to cash in that J-Bo chip, as one INJURY kills a whole lot of momentum. Remember folks, JM has offered fair or more than fair value for J-BO. If he doesn't want to re-sign here, then get a nice package and move on...
Yes I realize you don't want to break up the momentum, but the player can't have that much power over the TEAM...Injuries do happen, and we have been lucky enough so far !!!

Also, I think the CPR unit is now getting short-changed a bit. If it wasn't for them, none of this PLAYOFF TALK would be here. It would be nice to hear some "CPR" chants out there at the Bank Atlantic Center!!! They have revived the whole unit when they needed it most.....

P.S.--Trading Horton for a nice package makes JM instant Exec of the Year!!!

EJ... every GM makes moves they regret. Its what they do with that regret that makes them good or bad. The Kilger deal was about the only deal that came back and kicked Martin in the ass. Belak? No, he traded Belak and it sent a message and we started to win. McLean? Maybe. Stumpel? Obviously he bought him out... no. Murphy? Obviously he waived him numerous times and Murphy was claimed... so no.

I agree though... we need to wait and see what happens with Bouwmeester before Martin gets any nods for executive of the year.

Sign Bouwmeester, make the playoffs and win, and it happens.

JM did draft Frolik.

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