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Keith Ballard Trade All About 'Savings the Moneys' and the Draft Pick ... Panthers Waive Steve Bernier ... Pete DeBoer Runs Bag Skate After Horrible Losses

Directv ATLANTA -- The Florida Panthers placed Steve Bernier on waivers on Thursday. Bernier will likely clear on Friday and right now, it's unclear what the Panthers have planned for him.

He did not practice Thursday in Ottawa – more on that later.

How, exactly, is the Keith Ballard trade to be judged?

So far, the Panthers got exactly what they wanted out of it.

I got called on the carpet by some Panthers front office people for calling that trade a salary dump.

Bernier That's what it was then, that's what it is now.

The Panthers shed themselves of a bad contract signed by the previous regime.

Ballard is a good player and a great guy. I didn't want the Panthers to trade him solely out of selfish reasons.

But by trading him to the Canucks, the Panthers unloaded five years and $21 million. Ballard's defense has not been missed as the Panthers are very deep in that position (although word is the Rangers and Panthers are close to finalizing a deal for Bryan McCabe.)

The Canucks got Ballard and Victor Oreskovich. Florida got Bernier, Michael Grabner and the 25th overall pick.

Ballard3 It's obvious now all the Panthers wanted was Ballard's contract to be gone and that 25th pick. Bernier came in the deal to offset the money; Grabner was a throw-in to sweeten the pot as word is the Blues were anxious to pick Ballard up as well.

Bernier, a restricted free agent, may not have played his last game with the Panthers but he won't be back next year. Grabner struggled through training camp and was waived, promptly picked up by the Islanders.

The Panthers say Mike Santorelli beat Grabner out for a roster spot, but that's not all together true.

Had the Panthers not given Steven Reinprecht such a large deal (two years left at $2.175 million per at start of the season), Grabner could have stuck around. The Panthers didn't want to waive Reinprecht (who would have cleared) and then have to pay him NHL money to play in Rochester.

Grabner makes just $765,000 in the NHL; had he cleared waivers like Florida hoped and made it to Rochester, his AHL salary is a paltry $62,500.

Regardless, the Panthers lost Grabner and ended up paying Reinprecht's salary anyway. Reinprecht is making NHL money playing in Germany and will likely be bought out of his final contract year over the summer.

-- Panthers coach Pete DeBoer has obviously had enough.

After being beaten 5-1 in successive games to Islanders and Senators (not exactly the Flyers and Red Wings), DeBoer put the Panthers through their paces on Thursday in Ottawa.

“There wasn't a puck to be seen,'' said Darren DeSaulniers, my eyes and ears in Ottawa this week.

Pete has been reluctant to put his team through a bag skate, and honestly, I think Thursday's skate-only session may have been his first in three years here. The last bag skate I can remember was put on by Jacques Martin. He did a few of them, one memorable puke-fest coming in Raleigh.

-- Will have more from Darren – hopefully a Jack Skille update – later this afternoon.

Also scheduled to speak with Tallon sometime today and will have a post on that as well.

-- FYI: McCabe did practice with the Panthers today and is scheduled to fly with the team to Atlanta. Will let you know if he makes it here.


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"although word is the Rangers and Panthers are close to finalizing a deal for Bryan McCabe."

This isn't just Eklund's word, right? Hopefully some inside sources. *prays*

I'm hearing it from all over...

hopefully for a foward/draft pick

How can the Panthers front office call you to the carpet??? I thought i got an A in constitutional Law and there was lst amendment rights? Can u imagine Sather in NY calling Larry Brooks from the post in in ??? Shame on them; you call em how you see em!!!!

I blew it off because I saw that trade as what it was: dumping that particular contract and getting a first round pick. horton wasn't a salary dump; this one was. they said I was too negative because that was my first reaction to the trade. and it wasn't tallon saying anything; he could care less what I put on a blog.

By trying to get a return for him now I assume there's no interest in bringing him back next year (even at a severely reduced salary) but for the sake of curiosity, if he really wants to stay here, do you think they've considered asking him to waive now and then re-sign in the summer?

assuming you're talking about mccabe?

that never seems to work, although mike santos brought that up in FSN interview last night. seems like the panthers may be open toward dealing some guys for assets and then talk to them in july...guys hate being traded though, and coming back (this isn't the best situation in the league) usually doesnt happen

Hey GR,
When I mentioned the same thing on the so called Panther page--I was ripped for not Knowing what I was talking about. That "Dale" was getting back picks and decent players. When I mentioned that "draft picks" especially late 1st round picks were real long shots, again I was ripped. I am still having a hard time figuring out what this team is trying to do?? Frankly, I am tired of the " Dale lovefest" --all I see is a way to have the team run cheaply and no future--whatya say.

too little too late PDB. Maybe if you had this attitude all years we might see some different results. Go back to Jr's already

George, what do you think, get rid of DeBeor or not ?

Around what time will you be talking to Dale Tallon today? :o

This would be one contract where I have no problem salary dumping. Five years, $21 million is a lot for this franchise -- especially when Keith's no-trade kicked in July 1. The trade was a salary dump with a draft pick and some players thrown in. The players didn't work out for whatever reason but you still dump the money and get the prospect. Winner winner.

I would like to see what Pete could do with some players. In the past few years, the Panthers have taken away Jokinen, Bo and Horton and replaced them with spare parts. Hard to get blood from a stone but Pete did that this year. This tanking thing now is driving him mad.

I wonder about the committment of a 36 yr old 9when next season begins) who would be content to come back to a team that realisticlly won't be a playoff contender for the next 2 seasons. I know Florida is a popular retirement destination, but do we want the next Stumpel or Reinpreicht?

McCabe's not coming back to float, I don't believe that for a second. Last night he had four shots (tied for tops on the team) and was hitting people. He's shown what he's made of long enough that noone should question his heart.

But, the situation is what it is and he needs to go so the Panthers get some more assets. If he comes back, great. If not, at least the Panthers have something to show from it--unlike the Bouw move.

BTW, GR--props for getting it right and calling the proverbial spade the proverbial spade. You carry the weight when it comes to covering the Panthers. Kudos.

If mcCabe goes I bet it's no more than a 4th ot 5th round pick.

dear hank,

fyi, the bag skate is a nuclear option. used seldomly for a reason. you cannot skate your team like that every time they have an off night. no better way to lose a team. additionally, this team really hadn't taken a night off until this week, where the distractions are pretty easy to understand. these guys are human after all.

How come you didn't mention Grabner's 25 goals for the Isles? That's more than anyone on the Cats squad. Does he just have more talent surrounding him up there. He's even got more goals than Tavares on that team.

As a Ranger fan, I see no reason whatsoever to be losing a pick for a 1st round exit from playoffs, IF, we even make the playoffs..this makes no sense to me at all.

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