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Welcome to the First Monday of Hockey Summer ... Gearing up for the Draft ... What's Going on in Pantherland?

Crosbypirates Happy Monday to all of you in Pantherland. If you are like me, you're a little bummed hockey season is officially over.

Sure, it's been over for a lot of us for a long time, but I'm going to miss watching the great game on television as I have the past couple of months. Guess it's time for some summer vacation -- or, at least, some more summer vacation.

I'm thinking of going fishing. Fishing for golf balls that I hit in the lakes and canals around Broward County that is.

Have been making a few calls and checking on things around the Panthers these past few weeks, but haven't learned much that could be considered earth shattering.

Here are a few nuggets that I have heard. There will be more this week. I know I haven't posted much of late, but that's going to change this week. Keep coming back if you would. Much appreciated.

-- As I wrote last week, the Panthers are expecting to have a lower payroll next year, although it won't be anything near the salary floor as the Tampa Bay Lightning are rumored to be at. Florida loses $2 million right off the bat because of Bryan McCabe's bonus, but that will be absorbed by David Booth's raise. Florida is also losing Jay Bouwmeester's salary, but that will be picked up somewhere else.

Even though Richard Zednik can apparently return to the Panthers, the thought is Florida won't be able to match that money. If Zednik comes back, it's because his wife realizes what Russia is like in the winter compared to Boca. No work on the possible return of Radek Dvorak or Ville Peltonen. I would think one of these three return, possibly two. Florida wants to see what youngsters Shawn Matthias and Michal Repik can do with a legitimate shot to earn a roster slot.

--  A lot has been made of Florida announcing that Pete DeBoer is part of the solution here and the new general manager having to deal with that as a negative. I'm hearing the exact opposite. Pete DeBoer being here in Florida is a positive to the GM candidates. DeBo is looked at as a real rising star in the league, a young coach who is easy to work with.

I have yet to talk to Mr. Torrey, but I'm hearing Rick Dudley and Doug MacLean have already been in talks, and I'm sure Denis Potvin and Mr. Torrey have spoken as well. Former Minnesota GM Doug Risebrough and Minnesota finalist and TV analyst Pierre McGuire are also supposedly in play. The Panthers have apparently been talking to the Minnesota people and getting their thoughts on things, with the NHL's clearinghouse also helping along with the background search stuff.

I know Dudley, Potvin and McGuire would really work well with DeBoer, with the latter two being a big help with off-ice stuff in the community and stuff. I know certain people don't like to hear this, but the game still needs to be sold down here, and Potvin and McGuire -- oh, and especially MacLean -- would be real good at getting out there and helping that out.

Expecting to speak to Mr. Torrey in the coming days and will update. Also hope to speak to Randy Sexton soon -- although he's been a very busy guy. There have been reports that he is not a candidate for this gig, but he's been working real hard behind the scenes the past few years and I don't think that's the case.

-- As far as the ownership thing goes, there have been reports that the SPAG deal is falling apart; I don't think that's true. From what I hear, Alan Cohen is working to get some fresh local money involved to buy out some of his minority partners who want out. I didn't think Mr. Cohen really wanted to get out, but I know some of his partners do. If Mr. Cohen can find local money and remain majority owner, I think that's the route he would rather take. But that may not be feasible, and then the SPAG money comes back into play.

-- More as things pop up, hope you are having a good Monday.

Photo courtesy of Michael Henninger/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Comments

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I am liking the idea of Doug MacLean coming back. As far as Rick Dudley, no thank you. He already had his hands on this organization and we know how that turned out. I hope the Panthers aim high on the GM front like they did with the coaching last year.

Also GR, do you think we will see a trade on draft day for Bo's rights?

George:

There would be no need to buy out minority shareholders,if the SPAC merger tranaction was proceeding on track. It is a publically traded company and, after closing, whoever wanted to get out could simply sell their stock.

If your information is accurate, the fact that Cohen is trying to arrange a buyout of disgruntled minority shareholders suggests that the SPAC deal is in trouble.

Shawn Matthias a shot at the Panthers? He didn't even belong in Rochester last season. He should have been in the ECHL along with Sweetland, MacDonald and others.

Shows how desparate the Cats are for young talent when they can consider a player NHL worthy when his AHL season was a complete disaster.

George- the lower payroll thing makes me a bit nervous. I wonder exactly how low it will go? This reminds me of not too long ago when Alan Cohen and company originally bought the Panthers. Yikes! As far as JayBo's salary- yes George, I hope you're correct in that they pick it up somewhere...b/c it's nearly $5M! Maybe a trade to Philly for Lupul and a 1st-rounder? Not sure JayBo wants to go to Philly and not sure Lupul is worth the money.

For some reason, PDeB really likes Peltonen. I could see the coach asking the Randy Sexton or the new GM to try to resign Ville for next season. Too bad! IMO- the other offensive UFAs are not coming back, and that's okay with me! Give Repik and Matthias a real shot!

As far as GM is concerned, I hope they do not choose Doug MacLean. He did nothing for Columbus as their GM and we don't need to bring him back here simply because he's popular from the last millenium. BTW- you forgot to mention the Beezer as a potential candidate.

Any update to the contract extension of David Booth? Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Keep new stuff coming every day until the draft.

What out a question in my mind Denis Potvin needs to be the next GM of the Florida Panthers. That Dumb @** should of never fired him from the booth anyways so they need him has a GM NOW!!

zenator, while what you wrote about the minority partners being able to sell their stock even if the SPAC deal went through not making it necessary for Cohen to buy them out is true, the reason Cohen may be looking to buy them out is not to enable the SPAC deal to go through but to allow him to reject SPAC and maintain control of the team.

Ga. Panther:
Since Cohen is currently the majority shareholder, there is no need for him to buy out any minority shareholder in order for him to maintain control.

Supposedly, the attraction of the SPAC deal was that it included a cash component as well as a stock component, which would have allowed Cohen (and perhaps others) to recoup some of his/their losses.

hey GR thanks for the mnay updates. they jus made my monday better.

Welcome back, George! Thank goodness for the draft and FA as I hate this time of year. No football and no hockey - my double whammy.

I agree with you about Sexton - I think he is auditioning to be a candidate whether it's publicly mentioned or not. It'll be interesting to see what he can do in the next 2 weeks since it's looking like we won't have a GM named until after July 1st.

GR

are the minority owners the same minority owners that are minority owners in Tampa.

I still cannot figure out how the NHL allows people to be owners in more than one organization especially when the two teams are rivals

again, this team has no future. It's time for a change and that would be the location, not the GM.

I can't see this ending well. Potvin has no experience that I'm aware of in the business side of hockey. I'm not sure why his name is being talked about at all, other then he lost his TV job. Doug McLean had a bad run in Columbus as GM, although they were an expansion team. Good coach with Florida 13 years ago though... Dudley's been here before and we are just now (hopefully) climbing out of the hole he left us in. McGuire hasn't been on the "team" side of hockey in 12 years. See Barry Melrose to see how well that works out...

I think it's time to bring in fresh blood, meaning Risebrough. Of course, he had that whole Gaborik deal up in Minn, but at least he actually knows what a successful GM does and has playoff experience in this decade.

Any mention of Chuck Fletcher down south, GR?

Doug MacLean would be the worst thing to happen to this team since Mike Keenan. The guy was in charge of Columbus and took the team to the cellar. He started with the team at expansion and they got worse with him as GM. We don't need proven losers as GMs, we have had Dudley and Keenan, please no Doug MacLean and no Dudley. Not big on McGuire but I would take him over Dudley and MacLean. Want to sell the team, bring in a professional with a GOOD track record like the assisant GM of Detroit. I will say one thing for Potvin, although not one of my top choices, he knows what the Panthers need and might be the best choice. Thanks for the updates George.

From Russo's Rants in the StarTrib out of MN "And remember, Fletcher and Murray are very close. Fletcher was his assistant GM for seven of Fletcher’s nine years in Florida, and then Murray brought Fletcher to Anaheim after Rick Dudley was hired in Florida. (Incidentally, I hear Dudley will soon be leaving Chicago as assistant GM for another top job in the league)."

the first of many mistakes that Cohen has made was getting rid of Fletcher. This team/organizaton has gone downhill fast ever since Fletcher left. Torrey had promoted Fletcher then Wayne sold the team to Cohen who replaced Fletcher with Dudley. One of the main reasons this organization has no depth is the poor drafts by Dudley. (The other is that they don't spend money on scouting so they don't get the true feel of a player).

Yormark wants to complete all scouting by watching video instead of watching a player live. That is how you draft a guy with no heart (Horton) over a guy known for his heart and hard work (Staal) (another Dudley special)

Yzerman is the pick for this team

Fletcher is the new GM of the Wild, so he's off the list. Would have been at the top of it a few months ago though...

Sorry George, I guess I was refering to the....(Incidentally, I hear Dudley will soon be leaving Chicago as assistant GM for another top job in the league)." I know they talked...is he refering to the Panthers?

My only question is when is Bo getting traded for rights already? Are they really going to leave it at the status quo before a draft?

They really should sign a GM before next week. Its ridiculous going to a draft without one. Who would want a job as a GM and miss out on the draft! What fun is that?

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