Spent part of the morning at the BAC meeting with JM the GM. OK?
Got a little bit of news out of our meeting, some of which has been reported. But, I'm giving it to you anyways.
-- On the coaching search: No rush. None. JM was talking about August today. Says there are candidates who are still in the playoffs (thinking the Rangers' Perry Pearn) and says he'll put his list of qualifications together next week. Adds Mike Kitchen and Guy Charron have indicated they are interested in the job and will get their chance. Other than that, not much.
-- On his contract status: Nothing yet, although he says they are close to getting the deal done. He didn't seem all to worried about it.
-- On Michael Frolik: Nothing new to report here either. JM says the Panthers have made another offer and they are working toward a deal. Clock is ticking on this one. If Frolik isn't signed by June 1, he can re-enter the draft. Florida needs this deal to get done.
-- On Wade Belak: Had shoulder surgery ("something similar to Noah Welch") and will spend the summer rehabbing. That said, Martin wants Belak back and says a deal is in the works. Rostislav Olesz is also a deal the Panthers think will get done sooner than later.
-- On Steve Montador: I get the feeling we may have seen the last of Monty in a Florida sweater. Dude is going to get paid this year after having a career year, and I don't know that the Panthers are going to want to pony up the cash. JM says they want Monty back, but added that Monty probably is going to want to test the free agent waters. And, the Panthers "have a budget to think about.''
-- On Jay Bouwmeester: Nothing new to report here either. JM says the two sides have begun speaking.
-- On the Rochester Americans: The mess continues to grow. JM says the league is meeting with the team on May 5-6 "because they have some issues they have to deal with.'' JM says the Panthers are going to need a new deal with the Americans since the Panthers are going to be the lone parent team and will stock the team with players and coaches.
"We still feel strongly that it's a great market, a great fit for us,'' Martin said. "At the same time, we need the ownership issues resolved by the league. We'll work with the league on that. He needs to rectify his issues with the league and the city.''
Martin said both he and Randy Sexton will probably handle the Rochester hirings and signings, adding that the assistant GM usually handles the AHL operations but the Panthers haven't hammered that out yet.
A rumor floating out of Rochester was that the Panthers were interested in buying the Americans outright. False. The Panthers lost a bundle when they owned the San Antonio Rampage and don't want to go that route again.
-- Martin says all three of his assistants are under contracts, and "whoever becomes the head coach, those will be issues we'll have to work out.'' Martin wouldn't say whether any of the three would be back next year, but that would be up to the new coach. "We have things we need to consider,'' he said.