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Caruso In, Cats Down to One


Caruso_2 Mike Caruso signed an entry level deal with the Panthers Tuesday, leaving only Michael Frolik to come to terms by the June 1 deadline.

The Cats continue to be on the clock, hoping to lock down Frolik before he re-enters the draft. Word is JM is working hard on getting this done.

-- Nothing new on the Panthers coaching search, although it continues to be apparent JM is going to wait until the Stanley Cup Finals are completed before any true inroads are to be made.

I continue to hear Andre Savard's name being tossed about, although JM is being pretty tight-lipped about things so everything is just speculation until this point.

Until the Penguins give the Panthers permission to speak with Savard, they legally cannot move forward with any kind of contractual talks. If it was leaked that the Panthers were working on something with Savard, I would think the Pens could charge Florida with tampering. No way the Panthers want to go down that road.

I don't think Florida wants to give away anymore draft picks. Be patient folks. Once the Finals are over, Savard can talk to anyone he wants -- including a certain pro hockey team that plays in an arena just north of Weston.

-- Speaking of teams giving permission to speak, the Panthers apparently told Toronto they couldn't speak with one Joe Nieuwendyk until his contract expires July 1. Thought here is the Panthers are still ticked at Toronto for the Chad Kilger deal, sure, but more importantly, Joe was part of Florida's pre-draft preparation before he left the organization. The Panthers don't want to have paid for Joe to travel around scouting players, only to let Toronto be the beneficiary of that knowledge.

That's my thought on that, anyway.

-- Also, Toronto media is reporting that former Dallas GM Doug Armstrong is interviewing with Leafs brass. If Armstrong becomes the new GM of the Leafs, don't be surprised if Nieuwendyk joins him in T-Town sometime this summer. There's plenty of speculation running around the Big Bank Building in Sunrise that Nieuwendyk wanted the Panthers hire Armstrong as GM.  When it was apparent that wasn't going down, Joe moved on with his life.

Joe, for the record, has not said a bad word about JM or the Panthers since he's left. So this could just be another one of those stories.