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Alan Cohen: Jacques Martin is Safe

Jacques3 You can put the rumors to bed: Despite the Panthers not making the playoffs again this season, general manager Jacques Martin will return next season.

Owner Alan Cohen told me in an email today that Martin will continue to oversee the team's hockey operations. Martin was relieved of his coaching duties after last season and reportedly signed a four-year deal to remain on as general manager.

Martin has been the team's GM the past three seasons, taking over for Mike Keenan on Labor Day weekend 2006. Martin has been with the Panthers since being fired as coach in Ottawa in 2004.

''Yes, Jacques' job is safe for certain,'' Mr. Cohen wrote. ''He has made the team and the farm system better. Hopefully we keep doing that.''

-- A report out of Rochester says center Janis Sprukts will leave the Florida organization after this season and return to Europe.