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Talking Hockey on a Wednesday ... Richard Zednik Likely Gone ... Panthers Budget: Good

Slapshot Good afternoon hockey fans, hope your summer is treating you well so far.

For those of us stuck in South Florida, all I can say is ugh.

I am so looking forward to going to Montreal next week.

Just got off the phone with Florida's acting general manager. Randy Sexton and I went over a number of things regarding the Florida Panthers, and as always, I though I would share with you.

First off, Randy wouldn't get into the search for a new GM nor his place in that search. He simply told me that he wants the full-time job and Bill Torrey is aware of this. As far as I'm concerned, I think Randy has a nice little advantage over all the people applying for this gig. First off, Randy knows the organization inside and out. But the main advantage is the fact that he's actually doing the job right now. No one else can say that.

Anywho, let's get started.

-- First off, Randy told me the budget for next year is very close to last year's budget (the Panthers were about $2 million shy of the cap ceiling). That's good news for the Panthers.

''We have a healthy budget for next year,'' he said. ''It's very close to last year. It offends me when I see things written and said about us and our ownership. Mr. Alan Cohen and our ownership group have stepped up by building us a beautiful new facility and have stepped up with our payroll. We all want to win here. There's no excuses. We are assembling a team to make the playoffs, guys have to do it.''

-- Florida also had Bryan McCabe's $2 million bonus (paid in Maple Leaf bucks) count against last year's cap.

Zednik -- Randy says he has spoken to Richard Zednik's agent and while there is an out clause in the Russian contract Zednik signed a few months ago, the agent doesn't think Zednik is going to opt out. Zednik appears pretty set on playing in Russia next year. So, good luck with that Z.

-- Negotiations with David Booth on a new contract are ongoing. Randy couldn't give me a timetable and it sounds like the two sides are apart on money. That, and perhaps years, have to be the main sticking point right? Booth wants to be here, the Panthers want him here. So it comes down to the money and the years. It should be worked out.

Andy4 -- Randy said he spoke to Craig Anderson ''last night and we had a really good talk.'' Anderson says he wants to be in Florida, but he also wants to be a starting goalie. ''

He wants to be here, if we can make that work, we will. Guys play their careers to be a UFA and we respect that.''

-- As far as Jay Bouwmeester goes, well, status quo. ''I've had some conversations with his agent,'' Sexton said. ''It's a work in progress.''


-- As far as the draft goes, Randy doesn't seem married to the 14th overall pick. He says he's approached some GMs about trading up, and he's been contacted about trading down. Randy said Florida will have a first round pick this year, it just may not be No. 14.

"There are ways to improve the team. We like what we hear, we will be prepared for every scenario. If nothing happens, we think we'll get a real good player at 14.''

-- As far as the recent development camp goes, Randy said it was the best collection of talent the Panthers have ever had. That is a good sign for this organization for sure. "It's exciting, I'm pumped to see the good number of kids, their skill level. All these kids are Florida Panthers. That's exciting.''

Frolikbo -- Randy had plenty of praise for breakout rookie Michael Frolik who not only attended the development camp, but ''was the hardest working kid out there. What a great example to the kids. He worked his tail off.''

-- Top goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom (who should be on the roster in 2010-11) wasn't able to participate on the ice during the camp because of knee surgery. But he still impressed.

''He has such presence and is a real leader. This kid is a pro. Someone said he was the pied piper of camp. Every time you saw him, he had five or six people with Markstrom him. He's getting good development, playing a professional game.

''There will still have to be some adjustment to the North American game. It's not just the size of the rink, but the way the game is played. He'll have to get used to traffic in front of the net. The style of play will take some adjustment. We're not going to rush anyone. If they need seasoning, they'll get it.''

-- More later. Also have a big story coming out tomorrow on the new training facility at Incredible Ice. It is sweet, one of the best such facilities in the league. A real first-class deal for the Panthers. A showcase, really. We have pictures and stuff, will link to them when they are up.


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"But the main advantage is the fact that he's actually doing the job right now. No one else can say that."

Seems to me he's doing a lot of talking without accomplishing much of anything. That may indeed be an advantage in becoming the GM given the history of the Florida Panthers Organization. Sarcasm intended.

I think Randy is innacurate with respect to who should be complimented for buildign the BAC, previously known as the NCRC.

I'm pleased to hear that next year's payroll will be comparable to last years.

Maybe Randy can find a sucker team that is willing to accept the rights to JayBo for a draft pick? Maybe sucker is too harsh of a description because any team that is willing to acquire the rights to JayBo prior to July 1st will be given the opportunity to negotiate a long-term deal with him before the trade is actually consumated. Who will it be? Calgary? Vancouver? Edmonton?

Randy was talking about the new facility at Incredible Ice, not The Billboard...

Booth deserves a Mike Richards type of deal (10 yrs about $4m-5m/yr). He's the face of the franchise and they need to recognize that too.

Deal Jay's rights for a 2nd or 3rd rounder, and then package that, Horton and our first rounder and move way up. We need offensive help now and the talent out on the market is all overpriced.

And for the love of sweet zombie raptor Jesus, resign David Booth. He deserves more than Horton, so he better get it.

give horton a center and he gets 40 goals.staal sucked till they got cole back.we need to find horton a cole that he clicks with

I agree with panther fan. Horton's production went down because they didn't have a center and moved him to that position. Horton is a keeper. Either trade, sign or draft a top line center for Stillman and Frolik and put the Horton, Weiss, Booth line back together. That would give two very solid lines. Hopefully Michal Repik might be ready to make the jump to play with Campbell's line. Should get some good assets for Boumeester's rights. If you get a team's first rounder, you package that first rounder with Panthers No. 14 overall and move up to one of the top 3 spots.

i agree with bo here.we just gotta hope some team is dumb enough to want bo that much to give us a first rounder.

I doubt that's going to happen, but maybe Randy Sexton can use that as proof he's actually good, unlike JM.

No way will a team trade a first for Bo unless they know they have a deal AND they know someone else has a deal on July 1. A second or third is more like it. It's a shame Heatley isn't a center...

The only way the Panthers get a first is if they trade their first and Jay's rights to trade up, maybe with Colorado or Toronto. I don't think swapping with the Oil would work since they have a fair shot at him on July 1 and 4 spots isn't worth the trouble anyway.

From what Im hearing, The team is going to slash the budget by 20 percent and resigning anderson to a multi year deal, which means Vokoun is gone...As for being competitive, Just because you are close to the Salary Cap doesn't mean your trying hard to win, maybe more like spending lots of money is bad places....

As for the new rink, Its there to make money, nothing else, plus the players didn't like the commmute from Parkland to the BAC



Saxton says they are assembling a team to make the playoffs.

That is part of the reason this organization is average at best, the goal every year should be to win the Stanley Cup.

As far as Horton, he is too lazy to score 40 goals. He will not battle for the puck. The reason he needs a great center is that he plays on the outside instead of using his body on the inside.

You are in dream land if you think someone will give up a number 1 for the rights to talk to a player for a week.

Also, Bouwmeester is building a new house near Calgary if that is a hint

Any chance we can get Heatley?

Bouwmeester is building a summer house on a lake.

parkland to sunrise is quite a bit closer than parkland to north miami

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