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Changing their Spots: Florida Panthers Get Leopold ... Randy Sexton ''ecstatic''

Leopold ON THE FLORIDA TURNPIKE - The Panthers just called and told me Jordan Leopold has been signed to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million.

Seems Randy Sexton was at the right place at the right time, sending Jordan's agent an email asking him ''what was up'' after seeing that Leopold hadn't signed anywhere yet. After Leopold's agent said his client would take a one-year deal, things started rolling.

The Panthers acquired the exclusive negotiating rights to Leopold on Saturday at the draft in exchange for Jay Bouwmeester's rights. Florida also got a third round pick out of the deal.

Here's what Randy and Jordan had to say about today's events:

RANDY SEXTON

''Sometimes these things take longer than you would hope. There was genuine interest in Jordan's part, genuine interest on our part. Had to work through the market, Jordan's family to decide what they wanted to do. I stayed in touch with his agent and sent him an e-mail today and said 'you haven't signed yet, what's up.' He called back, had a short conversation saying he had to talk to Jordan and wife. Then he called back and said 'here's the deal'.''

''I'm not glad to get it done, I'm pumped to get it done. I'm ecstatic to have Jordan in Florida.

''Jordan turned down more money and longer term from other teams. That shows how much he wanted to play here.

''If you look at our defense now, we felt it was important to upgrade our mobility. I feel like we've done that. We're a mobile group now. We're excited about our mobility. Knock on wood, hope Bryan can play all year. That's like making a trade.

''We didn't make an offer initially, we just talked and looked at different kinds of deals. We just couldn't get it right, couldn't quite agree on things. I sent his agent an e-mail, asked if he would consider a one year, he said he would and to call him. It all worked out. I have a real good relationship with his agent.

''We are never done looking to improve. We're going to be relentless in our pursuit of finding good players. We're creeping up to where we were last year. Rest assured, we're not done. That doesn't mean anything is eminent. But we're not sitting back. We're not done.''

On Karlis Skrastins:

''The last number I had from agent was $2 million and one year. We always wanted him back, wanted a one year, he got two. Two million for one year was a bit much. That's it.

''We didn't make a two-year offer. Only a one. We made him an offer on a one year today, he took the security of the two year in Dallas.''

JORDAN LEOPOLD

“You look at an opportunity to play, and I don't know if other teams were the right fit for my family. I'm happy, I'm excited and ready to prove myself and look forward to the opportunity.

''Things were pretty quiet this afternoon, don't know if that was good or bad. I had never been through free agency, and some teams were interested. Randy called and I had to make a decision. I had prior conversations with him, at the end, it was a pretty easy decision.

''Anyone is a possibility at any time. Other teams called, it didn't work out. This worked out well for both of us.''

On Keith Ballard:

''He was at his parents' cabin on in island in the middle of nowhere. We talked Monday, talked about a few things. It was positive. I just wanted to test the market and Florida was always in back of my mind. Randy called at the right time and it worked out.''





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Good. Now we'll be that much less of a joke.

any chance Tanguay will go to teh sunshine state?

As of yesterday Sexton said it was only a remote possibility. The question I'd like answered is whether they saw all the negative fan reaction and realized they needed to do something. Of course you probably won't get a straight answer, but it's a question worth asking.

I continue to urge patience. In a buyers market, this is what a GM is supposed to do--exercise patience and shop for bargains. We have plenty of money left to spend should the right deal come along. I suspect we will try to reel in another D-man on a short-term deal. I am hoping Morris or Mara, and/or maybe just maybe go offense and land Tanguay....

Patience is all good but this team does need to get a scoring forward. That is not a disputable point.

We've had 10 years worth of patience. Now's the time with a team that was on the verge last season.

This is certainly positive news. The defense was looking a little thin before his signing. Leopold is a good defenseman, Flames gave up at the trade deadline a couple of AHL slugs and a second overall draft pick in the recent draft, Stefan Elliott, D, Saskatoon, to get him from Colorado. This is a good signing. Now we need to get some scoring.

i would like for us to try for tanguay or ak27(aka alexei Kovalev). both are proven players they fit our atyle of play etc. now i sound like management. lol. just get a goal scorer.

If tanguay signs in Florida I am comin down for 10 games this season instead of one...( im in L.A. )

Good sign. Can we focous on offense now? I think tangauy is still on the market.

Isn't Comrie still out there too?

With ownership in question and no GM, I believe Sexton's hands are tied. He can't make the big, long term moves b/c then the new owners/GM would be locked in and couldn't set their own course.

Outside of Booth, it appears he has the leeway to make small,short term deals at most.

I heard Vokoun is going to Philly

is it true that Vokoun is going to Philly????

I would be happy to see the Panthers trade for a scoring center. Who would be the bait: Olsez or Campbell, and a second round draft pick.


We need Vokoun now with our horrible defense.

Cohen is not selling he has found a new investor to partner up with him, we are stuck with this joke of an organization, with player agents becoming GMs maybe the Panthers are going to hire Drew Rosenhaus as our new GM, it will be another star that Cohen is impressed with.

We need one more player at least... How about Tanguay or Kovalev.

Sell them on South Florida by reminding people that we are making them stay for one or two year deals. They don't have to be a permanent attraction in our circus.

People need to back off the desire to bring Tanguay or Kovalev in here. All they are now is big names with not much else to offer, especially Kovalev. He takes off too much of the season to be worth the money he'll want. Buying into the hype of a big name from years past is what got the Panthers into the mess they are now, with Keenan and Martin leaving their mark of suckness all over.

Comrie would be a name to look at, with first line center experience, as Rhino can play the wing, and maybe Elias at a good cheap rate after his abysmal year with the Pens, looking to regain some of the form he had with the Devils.

As for Leopold, all the talk you read surmises into "We didn't get any offers of any value, so why not a paid vacation in Florida. My family will love it".

Clash is right, I would rather wait to see what Nash does, if he doesn't sign does Columbus put him on the market and then do we have enough to get him and sign him

Nash still has another year to decide and, if I were Columbus, I would keep him until the trade deadline at least before they try and put him on the open market.

I would like to see a trade for Heatley, but I don't think he would waive his 'no trade' agreement to come here and I don't know if we would have the cap room to take him and the extra 3 million in players salaries that the Senators are now trying to pass off on other teams.

Comrie would be nice if he is still out there.

When will Mike Duco get his shot? Seems as if maybe his time has come?

Please stop calling for Tanguay, Kovalev, and definitely not Comrie....These guys have talent, but only thrive on more talented teams. The Panthers need to be more of a blue-collar team. Yes if they prove in January that they can hang with the pack, then you go after an additional talented FWD...But due to their limited fan base and cap restrictions, they have to avoid this free agency frenzy....

Too many teams take way too many chances this time of year. I don't understand what Montreal is thinking. They've taken on MAJOR RISK with heavy contracts handed out. Totally unlike Gainey, so I don't see he or JM lasting long up there...

As for the Panthers, I would've liked to see them retain Skrastins for sure. It looks like Nieuwendyk really made a nice move on us there. I really hope it wasn't because we didn't offer him 2 years or at least the $1.4, because that would be pretty sad...A quality guy, and even if it didn't work out, he'd be easily a solid trade for someone out there at the trade deadline...Now it looks like our D is pretty set with Ballard, McCabe, Leopold, Allen, Koistenen, Ellerby, etc..I would add Cullimore as he's cheap and consistent, and never seems to get the respect he deserves...

I would've loved to see Antropov here, or paid double to get Chad Larose from Carolina, but that wasn't happening. I'd love to try to get Kessel from Boston for Horton. Also the Vokoun rumor to Philly for Biron +++++package should be highly considered. I'd even gamble on Briere if they'd pay some of his salary, or take one of ours(Olesz) in return...

Horton is inconsistent. Who is going to want him? for Kessel?

Biron is a UFA

"Rest assured, we're not done. That doesn't mean anything is eminent. But we're not sitting back. We're not done.''

Sexton's sure changing his tune from just a day ago when he said he liked our team going into next season.If thats the case then lets assume the obvious that we dont sign any big names (although its my belief you need one guy on your team to carry the load).

Sykora , Satan, Sammuelsson...those are the player we should be looking at. One or 2 year deals would be perfect for them. They shouldnt be exspensive to sign. I can't see anything more then 2.5 a season.

Well Samuelsson just signed for 3 years with VAN. Hard to believe we actually had him on our team at one point.

Satan would be a good bet. He's coming off a rough season with the Penguins so hes not gonna be resigned there. But hes has like 9 seasons of 25 or + goals and at one season 40. He probally cant put up those kind of numbers now but 20-30 is definatley resonable...and hes gonna come cheap.

Sykora might be a little more exspensive and maybe the Penguins will resign him. But he would be great too.

Let's not forget they are coming off a Stanley Cup victory!

I say resign Peltonen and then sign Satan!

I'd rather have Biron at about $3million than Vokoun at $5.7 million...Let's be honest, we've got to stop riding a goalie as our savior. It didn't work with Luongo in his prime, a red-hot Belfour, or anyone since. So spend the $$$$ on developing a TEAM first, then pick up some pricier players when you're that close to contending....

Also, stop with the Satan, Sykora, Comrie etc...If they couldn't cash in with the Penguins talent around them, maybe they're a little past their prime. This team can't afford to throw cash around and hope and pray...Sammuelson seems like a good fit for Vancouver with the their solid core. But a lot of guys(Sammuelson, Hagman, Straka, etc) flourished after they left here, which is nice to see for them, but I wouldn't be in a big hurry to throw big money at them to return...Now some guys(Straka, Boyle, Whitney, etc) never got a fair chance to flourish due to our mismanagement, but that's something we have to unfortunately live with.... At some point, we have to develop our own talent...

Peltonen will probably return by default. No big deal, could take him or leave him...Dream trade here: Horton and Vokoun for a package that includes Kaberle. Flip Kaberle to Boston to finish the deal those two teams couldn't make on draft day...WIN-WIN as we'd get rid of T-VO's contract and Horton...If Sexton could pull that one, I'd sign him for 3 years...

Sooo why would Toronto or Boston want another goalie who makes 5.7 a season? Face it Vokoun is our starting goalie for at least another season if not until the end of his contract.

So for the most part you want us to trade Horton and Vokoun and then sign Biron, and trade for Kessel?

Well first off you tell me why a playoff team like Boston wants to rid themselves of a first round pick in his 3rd year coming off a career-high 36 goal season and led his team in goals? Dont say salary because there are other players to cut salary from, besides he is an RFA and still there property.

It's dumb...besides knock Satan and Sykora all you want, but they're the ones coming off a cup win.

Slapshot, maybe you don't understand the business of sports.... First off, Comrie isn't a high priced player. Never really has been, but is definitely a top line caliber center. Would he look better on the second line on a team deep in talent? Of course, but so would Weiss and ANY center in the league. Hell, Havlat looked like the man when in Ottawa, when dumbass Martin was using him on the third line rw, instead of second line lw where they were weak on depth.

Satan and Elias are coming off horrible seasons for players of their past caliber. Horrible. They need to prove they still have it, to get a decent contract. So any of the three playing for a contract about three or 3.5 million right now, would be wise for them, especially if a one year deal with a club option for a second or third even, no movement without their approval.

Panthers need to go call Danil Markov up in Russia and B E G him to come back to the NHL. They're gonna need his nastiness and durability with the defense they have built.

I am still available for the GM job. And I work cheap, if that is what Cohen wants, but him, Yormack, and anyone not associated with on ice production need to keep their noses out of what I do. My teams WILL compete for a playoff spot within two years, barring a massive rash of injuries, and I WILL restock the farm within three years. Completely.

Kessel for Kaberle is not something I made up. It's a solid rumor that got out and was close, but there was some sort of misunderstanding over what draft picks also would be included. So yes Boston was contemplating it. Maybe they have more cap issues, maybe they don't like Kessel's attitude, but the guy us solid, and I'd like to think we'd all take him over Horton--even the brainwashed Panther fans....

As far as paying $3-3.5 million on Comrie and/or Satan, I'd rather pay Saku Koivu $4.5-5 million than either of those 2...Koivu puts up decent numbers himself, and makes others around him better even when he's not scoring...Comrie may get you 20 or 25, but doesn't add a whole lot else to his game...It's like Zednik or Stumpel--decent as 3rd line scoring, but not a whole lot else to go with it...No grit...

Just to stir the pot, how about T-Vo and Horton for Heatley and Pascal Leclaire?? Ottawa's in a bad spot as he rejected going to Edmonton, so why not take a chance? Even if it didn't work out here for Heatley, it'd be a lot easier to trade him than Horton....

As far as the brilliant comment about Satan and Sykora getting rings, I think a couple guys named Sidney and Geno had a little more to do with those guys wearing rings and lifting the cup than any others did...


Point taken Slapshot.

But I think Satan could be had for no more then 2.5 million.

Pascal Leclaire is younger then Vokoun, I cant see Ottawa taking him over Leclaire who hasn't even played for them yet cause he was injured.

Koivu Im not sure about him...hes not as much of a goal scorer.

ANd if your talkign about Patrick Elias he's still under contract with NJ for a few more seasons.

Comrie isn't that great, although hes younger, he only has like one 60 point season to his resume.

Koivu has no interest in coming to here. He's looking to play with his brother, or goin to a team with a chance at the Cup. That is NOT here. If you think Comrie is a third line center, you've never watched the guy play hockey. He's either played for teams that were sucking do to a lack of talent (Phoenix, Isles, Edmonton) or spent a very short amount of time with a decent team (Ottawa, Philly). Koivu is six years older, and has only three seasons of 60 or more points, Comrie 2 seasons and not even 30 yet.

As for Elias, meant the other Czech midget who bolted the Devs for a payday in the Burgh and had a horrid finish to the season with getting benched. Between him and AHL Satan, both will seriously be looking for a decent paycheck anywhere and prove they still got game. A combination of Comrie and Sykora or Satan would possibly come cheaper than Koivu alone, and potentially render a hell of a lot more points. And for Koivu to come south, he'll be look for $5 mil plus.

As for Kaberle-Kessel it went like this.... Burke thought the deal was Kaberle for Kessel and Boston's first. Chiarrelli thought the deal was Toronto's first and Kaberle for Kessel. Burkie had no intentions of EVER trading the Laffs' pick, unless it was movin up in the draft.

And Nash won't be goin anywhere. The BJs signed him to 8 years at $7.8 per.

As for Heater, he has a no trade, and I highly doubt he wants to come here. He was looking for the Rags, the Sharks, or the Queens, and is pouting like a child that he didn't get any of those three.

Amen brother, Amen.

we don't need any more players that only care about the name on the back then the logo on the front so no to Heatley.

Yes I hear you, but we'd be getting rid of Horton. So two selfish players, and we could end up with the better one(heatley)...Sure we'd pay more for him, but he's way better, and would be easier to trade down the road if it didn't work out here for him...

Also, we'd probably have to throw a Dman(ellerby or garrison) in and maybe a pick, but if you want to get legitimate talent down here, you have to take chances...I agree Koivu and Heatley probably wouldn't want to come here, but there's not many teams left that can afford Heatley...Ottawa says they expect him back, but they know they really don't want to deal with the PR of a player that really wants out...So take advantage where you can. And just maybe the selfish Heatley would rather live in the Sunshine State than Alberta...

Face it panther fans, this organization does not have the pucks to go out and get someone who can really put the puck in the net. We are more interested in putting our faith in guys that can't get it done or guys that may be able to one day get their scoring touch back. It has always been that way here and it always will be. So forget about the bringing a Tanguay or Kovalev here. Guys of that caliber leave here on a regular basis because the management of this team has no clue. Sure we spend a lot of money by getting close to the cap but look at what we are spending it on.

Yes very true. All very good points there...It is also interesting to note the slack that is fiven to our scouting dept. Yes I know that our constant changing of GMs doesn't help as he has the final say, but if we lived in any sort of a hockey market, people would be calling for their heads...

Anybody could've picked J-Bo, Horton, and Weiss...Yes they hit on Booth and Frolik, but almost 10 years of picks and not much to show for it... I know you're not going to hit all the time, but I think these guys have overstayed their welcome...I think for now everyone respects Coach PDB. So maybe we should seek his advice on scouting and GM options. Maybe he has some contacts from up north...It couldn't hurt!!!

Slapshot, the benefits of a good scouting department are usually seen in the farm system more than anything. Being the lack of a true farm system since 04/05, and no money invested in souting, you can not fault the actual scouting department for the faults of the organization. Many times, players they look to bring in, are not given time to develop and are then cast aside. It takes more than two or three years to truly develop a later round pick. The Zetterbergs of the world are few and far between if you look at the percentages of late round picks that make it and those who do not. Havin talked to Luce in the distant past, if he was given the proper funding and support, we would see more fruits of his labor here in Florida. He might just be the only bright spot the organization has beyond DeBoer right now.

Clash is correct, the problem is that we do not put any money or very little money into the scouting and development. I have been saying this for years. The organization comes back and says they spend to the cap but it doesn't mean anything if they pick the wrong players because they are not out looking at them.

Yormark told the season ticket holders a couple of years ago that we can scout by video. The problem with that is that video does not show the heart of a player or the other intangibles that you get talking to people that know the player.

As long as they do not put money into the development of players we will be at best an average team

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