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Catching Up on a Thursday: Talking Panthers with Randy Sexton

Ross Happy Thursday to everyone, hope summer is treating you well.

With no hockey on tonight (we're all anxiously anticipating Friday's Game 7 in Boston) here's an update on what's going around Pantherland.

First off, spoke with GM Randy Sexton today about a few things.

He's basically been scouting the NHL and AHL playoffs while also checking out prospects and such. He'll be in Brandon, Manitoba, for the Memorial Cup -- the Panthers have two prospects playing.

-- One thing we talked about were restricted free agents, with Sexton saying they have a pretty good idea of which players the Panthers will tender. He wouldn't tell me what decisions have been made, but of the four major restricted free agents Florida has, I would think the Panthers make offers to Jason Garrison and Kenndal McArdle as well as Gregory Campbell. I don't think Kamil Kreps is coming back, but the Panthers could surprise us and tender him as well.

Florida doesn't have any unrestricted free agents this season.

Sexton all but said McArdle would be coming back -- and this makes plenty of sense. The Panthers made him a first round pick in the Sidney Crosby draft of 2005 and feel he turned a major corner this season before getting hurt.

McArdle had surgery on both shoulders this season, injuries Sexton called "disappointing,'' only because McArdle was playing so well. Sexton says he doesn't think McArdle's injuries will affect him in the future, although he knows it's a possibility. "I hope this is it for him as far as shoulder injuries go,'' he said.

-- Sexton adds that he thinks there are going to be quite a few trades pulled off once the Stanley Cup Finals are complete. He says he's getting his work done so the Panthers could be a team in play once the deals start cooking.

-- Sexton also said the Panthers are totally pulling in the preseason travel after the team had slow starts following their world tours. The Panthers are going to play on the road, but will also play at least two home preseason games. Sexton said the Panthers are talking with the Lightning about playing two games in the preseason.

Florida will also play at Boston and Montreal with a home game in Rochester against the Bruins. The Panthers are also expected to visit Carolina. The Hurricanes could be coming south for a Sunrise visit as well.

The team will announce the preseason schedule sometime later this summer once things are finalized. Training camp will open in Coral Springs so those rumors about a few days in Canada seem to be unfounded -- unless they camp out for a few days before/after the Canadiens game.

-- The Panthers are all but done with signing prospects after inking center Scott Timmins to an entry level deal.

This from the Panthers release:

Timmins, 20, played in 56 games for the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) this season, registering 54 points (30-24-54) and a plus-28 rating. In 19 playoff contests, Timmins scored 11 goals with 11 assists, helping Windsor advance to the 2010 Memorial Cup, his third appearance in as many years.

He previously played in the Memorial Cup with Windsor (2008-09) and Kitchener (2007-08). Timmins was also selected as the OHL’s best defensive forward and best penalty killer as selected by the league’s coaches.

The Hamilton, Ontario native was drafted by Florida in the sixth round (165th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  Timmins becomes the sixth prospect to be signed by Florida this off-season, joining Colby Robak, AJ Jenks, Marc Cheverie, Adam Comrie, and Eric Selleck.

Now, when I say all but done, the big signing of the summer is goalie Jacob Markstrom. The Panthers can't do that until after the World Championships -- where Markstrom is 2-0. Sexton says he's excited about the future of the Panthers in goal once Markstrom gets signed.

-- We didn't talk about the Panthers coaching staff nor what the plans were in Rochester. We'll save that for another day once Pete DeBoer returns from the World Championships in Germany. 

-- Steve Goldstein is holding his annual golf tournament on Friday at the Miccosukee Golf Club in Kendall. It's a great event that benefit's Goldie's Gang. Here is their website. I think if you want to play, they can get you in. Kickoff is at noon.


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Gonna be a looooong hot summer. Hope Sexton can pull SOMETHING out of this franchise with some trades.

Every time you ask why the players aren't out in the community, he says it is an infringement on the players time. But they have plenty of time to cash their overinflated paychecks.

Great, Sexton is at the Memorial Cup while other teams scouts and GMs are scouting players to draft this year.

A scout says the Memorial Cup is a waste for scouts because everyone knows the players there.

Get a real NHL GM and real NHL scouts. Learn about the players character.

Montreal is showing that grit beats skill when the team with grit makes sacrifices for the better of the team.

Unfortunately, the Panthers don't have grit and they don't have skill.

Get rid of those that don't buy into the system and are willing to sacrifice. The only players we have that have grit are Allen, Booth and Campbell. As far as the rest of the team, make the best deal you can.

Montreal has around 11 new players this season and look where they are.

Stu, Cliff action not words.

Why does it have to be some sort of hidden secret about Kreps? He's had more than enough time to prove his worth, and like most of the rest of the Panthers, he' doesn't have the grit or the talent for the NHL... This guy should've always been on a 2-way contract, as should many of the 3rd and 4th liners, so they can be sent down when not performing...

And I'm not just trying to take out frustrations on Kreps... Many of the others are not full-time NHLers, and the best way to appreciate NHL playing time is making them earn it... There isn't enough talent or depth in the system, so send a message that laziness will not be tolerated and playing time and call-ups have to be earned...

Campbell is a respectable hockey player, but he also has to earn his time... I would still root for a guy like him, but maybe it's best if he also was on a 2-way contract... So if the Cats have to send a message and let some guys walk, so be it... They've already gone through a trade deadline, and I'm sure there wasn't much interest from other teams... I'm sure they weren't even offering up late round draft picks... Bottomline, many of our guys aren't good enough, so don't be afraid to say it Sexton... Send the accountability message out there, and say we expect much, much more...

Garrison and McArdle should be tendered, but also on 2-way deals... Don't act desperate. If a guy proves his worth, then offer him a legitimate contract...

Why is Sexton still here?!?!

...Because Yormack believes that "SEX-ton" sells! haha

oops--typo: Yormark

Sexton is still here because he comes dirt cheap.

slapshot is right, we have way too many players that are not NHL caliber players and the worse part is that they are not willing to work.

This organization has overhyped way too many marginal players

The reason is marketing and that is where Yormark needs to get out of the way of "real" hockey people.

Stu and Cliff get a real hockey person to run your hockey operations. The only credible person you have in management on the hockey side is DeBoer everyone else needs to be let go and have someone that other teams respect and the players respect that knows NHL caliber talent.

Sexton's claim to fame is overpaying and overhyping Alexandre Daige. Time for accountability and time to have a real NHL team in South Florida and not something to fill 41 days at the people's arena that you have the privilege of managing.

Organizations need continuity in management and persistance of purpose in order to be successful. Under Cohen, the place was a revolving door.

Sexton, on balance, did a great job last year given the constraints that he was given to operate under. He signed 3 vets to one year contracts and then converted them into 3 2nd rounders at the TDL. This allowed us to tank and obtain a very high draft pick.

We also have considerable cap flexibility. We currently sit around 11 million under the cap and have another 15 million coming off the books at the end of next season.

We finally have a system in place under DeBoer that seems effective.

We must now build the right way and avoid the temptation of quick fixes. As long as the product on the ice, shows improvement and we are headed in the right direction, I will continue to buy season tickets...

I caught this online last night, the first half is an interview with some baseball agent bu the second half is mostly about the panthers. The guy rips Yormark, Martin and name drops George. Enjoy


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