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JOVO COP'S LAST STOP?: Ed Jovanovski's Future In Doubt ... Panthers, Captain Will Discuss Next Season Later

TWITER: @GeorgeRichards

Captain Ed Jovanovski reiterated his desire to play one more season with the Panthers although he knows the team may have other plans.

Jovanovski, 37, returned from hip resurfacing surgery this season and played in 37 games since coming back Jan. 4. Jovanovski has one year remaining at $4 million, although the Panthers could buy that out over the summer.

"There are no decisions right now,'' Jovanovski said. "I have another year on my contract and I want to play. Can I? That's a different situation. We'll see where it goes.''

Said GM Dale Tallon: "There's a lot to talk about, talk about his fitness and his health. He showed some flashes of 'old Ed.' That was a major surgery and it takes time. We will have some heart-to-hearts and see what happens.''

On Saturday, Edmonton's Ryan Smyth had a tearful goodbye as he announced his retirement the day before. Smyth played big minutes in the Oilers' win over Vancouver and was feted by teammates and opponents alike when the game concluded. Jovanovski, the top pick of the 1994 draft by the Panthers, noticed Smyth's grand exit.

"I love to compete, do what I do,'' Jovanovski said. "Having watched Ryan Smyth, that's the right way to go out. Will I play beyond next year? Probably not. But I have another year on my contract. We'll figure something out.''

If Saturday was Jovanovski's last game with the Panthers, it ended early. He was ejected -- and fined $5,000 on Sunday -- for an retaliatory elbow to the head of Columbus' Corey Tropp in the first period.

 

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Unless Jovo comes into camp next year having gained a step instead losing one...and yes, I understand the major proceedure he underwent...he just can't help The Cats ON THE ICE. No matter how great he may be in the locker room, "C" on the sweater or not, the fand deserve a serious contender, and Jovo just doesn't have the lateral quickness, burst, and closing speed anymore to keep opposing forwards on the outside, unfortunately.

It's depressing, he's had a hell of a career, and has
every reason in the world to walk away with his head held high and be proud of what he's accomplished at every stop, from the beginning here, to Vancouver, to The Desert, to back here. Go out "The Captain", Jovo, go out like your supposed to, don't go out being burned down the wing by some kid fresh outta the QMJHL, or giving up a breakaway short-handed to lose the game because you just can't recover in time, please man.

*Fans

I was watching the Flyers broadcast and Bill Clement said, "Boy is Jovo having a bad game." I felt like e-mailing him and telling him that is every game...If Tallon and Viola are serious about putting a good team on ice the first guy they have to sit down with is Jovo and ask him if he wants to be traded or retire because he is the worst player on the team. I liked Jovo in the playoff run a few years ago but he just is not good enough anymore. He is the worst defenseman the Panthers have used all year. He should watch the Panthers games I watch and he would see he can't play any in the NHL anymore. As Tallon said, " flashes of 'old Ed.' " But mostly just OLD Ed.

I wouldn't be so concerned with Jovo. There's more need to this team than what Jovo does or doesn't do. Tallon already inferred that Erik Gudbranson will be the next captain. Maybe Tallon want to keep Jovo around in order to groom him for captaincy.

If Viola and Tallon want to win (and make waves throughout the NHL), in addition to seeking UFAs, they should seriously consider offer sheets to RFAs (after they agree to terms with Erik Gudbranon. The Panthers have been in draft pick mode for years. Now it's time to get serious, especially if Tallon apparently has $30M to spend. After this year's draft, we don't need any more picks. Some RFAs that I would consider are as follows:

RW Reilly Smith (Boston Bruins)- 20 goals
Current cap hit $900,000
Expected payout $2M
Offer sheet $2.5-$4M
Draft Pick Compensation: 1 1st R, 2nd R and 3rd R

D Eric Gelinas (New Jersey Devils)
Current cap hit $660,000
Expected payout $2M
Offer sheet $2.5-$4M
Draft Pick Compensation: 1 1st R, 2nd R and 3rd R

LW Jaden Schwartz (St. Louis Blues) - 25 goals
Current cap hit $830,000
Expected payout $3M
Offer Sheet $3.5M - $4M
Draft Pick Compensation: 1 1st R, 2nd R and 3rd R

C Ryan Johansen (Columbus Blue Jackets) 33 goals
Current cap hit $870,000
Expected payout $3.5M
Offer Sheet $4M - $5M
Draft Pick Compensation: 2 1st R, 1 2nd R, 1 3rd R

D P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens)
Current cap hit $2,875,000
Expected payout $6M
Offer Sheet $6.5M to $7M
Draft pick compensation: 4 first rounders

Yeah, I thought about going the RFA route, and, while it's tempting, you not only hamstring yourself regarding future draft picks, but also kinda "blackball" yourself among GM's throught the league.

Now, if that's no big deal to you, and you think the talent coming back is THAT good, then you go for it, but remember, it just may come to bite you in the rump when you want to make a trade deadline deal to make your team better for the stretch run, and no GM in the league will take your phone call

Mase - I understand what you are saying, and there's a part of me that agrees with you. When Dustin Penner was offered contract by a rival team in 2007, everybody criticized it. But I say, "Who cares? It's a new day for the bottom dwellers."

Dale Tallon has enough draft picks under his belt; he doesn't need anymore. It's time to get moving on the Blueprint, and that means being aggressive, but not throwing money down the toilet. He should spend money and spend it wisely. Being aggressive like this will show UFAs that Florida is a place that wants to win.

As far as being blackballed, remember, this is a business...if there's a deal to be made, it will be done.

Tallon will never give up the draft picks for those or basically any rfa, and he shouldnt

I don't completely disagree, like I said, I thought about that as well. It's an option, and, given the pretty sorry state of the UFA's this off-season, every option HAS to be on the table, IMO.

Here's the rub: If your gonna do it, you better be DAMN sure it accomplishes AT LEAST 2 goals:

1. Puts butts in seats

2. Doesn't just make your team "kinda" better, but
makes them SIGNIFICANTLY better.

Now, given the current state of the team, you might say that ANY move makes this team significantly better, lol, and you probably wouldn't be far wrong, but can you honestly say that any of Subban, Smith, Gelinas, Schwartz, or Johansen accomplishes those goals?

IMHO, the only guy on that list that might...given the large nunmber of transplanted Habs fans and Montreal snow birds...accomplish both goals, would be Subban.
Now, ask yourself, is Subban worth 7-8 mil per year AND
4 1st round picks? If the answer isn't a resounding yes, then it's probably not worth it.

I definitely agree with the "go for it" approach, given what you have to lose(nothing you haven't lost already: games), but I would be more willing to give up what could possibly be a 1st oversall selection...and Connor McDavid...after 2015. Question is, does Tallon even have that long?

Mase – Good commentary. I agree on your two points, although I’m not entirely convinced that point #1 can ever be accomplished without winning (at least initially while football season is still in session - you and I know how the South Florida sports market is). But, yes, your two points are very well taken. Viola has 2 bottom lines – winning and making profit. I would, however, like to add a third point in that it’ll take extra effort to lure decent UFAs (and signed players with NTC - if a trade is available) to come to FLA this summer. Actively pursuing really good players now (in the manner I've described) will demonstrate to veterans that the Panthers are all about becoming a winner. BTW- I would not be in favor of trading this year’s draft pick away, unless it was for a 30+ goal scorer who has at least 7 good years left to play at his current level. The point I’ve been trying to make is that Tallon has obtained a lot of draft picks since coming to FLA in 2010, so the Panthers are now well stacked. We don’t really need any more picks (e.g., #14 overall in 2015). The wallet is apparently open, and it’s time to get this party started!

If I recall correctly, making offer sheets to RFA occurs after the NHL entry draft, so if we do make an offer sheet, we wouldn’t forfeit draft picks until 2015. You brought up a good point – how long does Viola wait on Tallon, especially if Florida fails to make the playoffs next season? In 2007, I thought Jacques Martin made a good move when he acquired TVo from Nashville for a first rounder (who I think went to the Islanders as the 9th overall selection) and a couple of 2nd rounders. When each of their careers is over, I am almost certain that we’ll agree TVo was more valuable (overall) than any of the aforementioned draft picks.
Like you, I probably wouldn’t want to give up 4 first rounders and $7M for PK Subban. Rather, I would be more interested in Gelinas (as far as D-men go) because he will be cheaper than Subban. To me, goal scoring is really an issue and it has been for years. Reilly Smith would be a good acquisition because he won’t be as costly as LW Jaden Schwartz or C Ryan Johansen and his 33 goals. The Panthers are deep on centers (Bjugstad, Barkov, Huber, Pirri, Trochek, Shore, Howden), but light on left wingers. For me, Tallon should make an offer sheet to Schwartz, and/or go after UFAs LW Thomas Vanek or LW Matt Moulson.

For fun, let's just say we miraculously acquired C Ryan Johansen; we could always move Huber to LW. Tallon even said it's easier for a center to go to wing than visa-versa. Yep, I’ll keep dreamin!

Huberdeau never played center

Could be wrong, but I think he played some Center in
Junior, at Saint John, Hank, at least, that's what he
was listed as. I believe I saw him Center a line with Zack Phillips on the wing, if I'm not mistaken.

1st and 2nd line centers are set on this team with bjustad and barkov so huberdeau will remain on the wing on this team

First off, this many comments speaks volumes. As a lifelong Panthers fan who remembers Jovo as a rookie this has to be the end of the line. The team has to move on, and so does Jovo. Buyout/release whatever needs to be done. Thanks for all the years especially the first run with the Panthers.

I agree there's no room at Center on this team, Hank, which is why Huby is on the wing, and probably will remain there unless the team makes a move with one of the current top 2 Centers, which I sincerely doubt happens.

The more I look at the current roster, and who's still
under contract, the more I see a move involving Flash taking shape. I just don't see where he fits on this roster next year, especially if Tallon goes out and makes a move for Moulson. That would give you Moulson, Huby, and Bergy as your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd line LW's, respectively, so it's either a move to RW for Flash, or ??????????

Mase - I agree with you about Flash (as he is the highest paid forward on the team and underperforming). That's why in my initial post, I wasn't too concerned about the future of Jovo. Like everyone on this blog suggests, we are stacked with centers. Bjugs and Barkov make the top lines. I'd say Pirri is ready for 3rd and Trochek, 4th line.

I think Tallon's wish list for next season's offensive lineup would be as follows:

Boyes - Bjugstad - UFA
UFA - Barkov - Huberdeau
Upshall - Pirri - Bergenheim
Enforcer (Barch if cheap) - Trochek - Howden/Shore/whoever

Where does this leave Flash and Kopecky? Potential buyouts? I think Tallon is entitled to 2 amnesty buyouts (not sure if Kuba counts towards this number; Versteeg does not).

Gomez is a UFA who probably won't be given another contract.

Jesse Winchester, another UFA - not sure what Tallon will do.

BTW - Panthers win draft lottery. They get #1 overall!

Buy out JOVO-Dump Flash.Can someone tell me where I can find the UFA list for next year?Please draft Aaron Ekblad

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