Unless you count the leaving of Randy Sexton and Jack Birch from the organEYEzation it was a pretty uneventful day for the Florida Panthers during the first day of free agency. Dale Tallon was busy on the phone, made numerous calls but nothing came to fruition for the club.
July 1 which has been the first day of activity in the new world of NHL free agency, usually is filled with some head scratching offers, and some deals that absolutely don’t make sense, or at least make you say WTF? We all know both the Panthers and Dale have been guilty of such behavior in the past, and whether those decisions were right or wrong, caution is being used going forward. Rightfully so as some of day one’s deals were peculiar to say the least.
Sergei Gonchar to Ottawa for 3 years at $5.5 million per. Manny Malhotra to Vancouver at 3 years for a total of $7.5 million. Dan Hamhuis to Vancouver for 6 years at $4.5 million per. And the one deal that will probably get Darryl Sutter fired in Calgary was resigning Olli Jokinen for 2 years at $3 million per. Not that he overpaid, but that he resigned him. That deal coming on the heels of Sutter reacquiring forward Alex Tanguay for $1.7 million after Tanguay scored a whopping 10 goals with Tampa Bay last season. I read somewhere that while Tanguay doesn’t have a no trade clause, the other 29 general managers are suggesting he should!
Patience we are being told is what we are going to need. As we all know the situation settles down after the first day or two, and then it’s possible that things will look a bit different for the Panthers. Big names that are still out there are some of the one’s that were mentioned in my post yesterday. Alex Frolov, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Ilya Kovalchuk, as well as Marty Turco, Jose Theodore and Evgeny Nabokov.
While on the subject of goaltenders, and we touched on this particular signing last night on the Rink Side Rants show, how can the Flyers justify signing Michael Leighton for 2 years at an average of $1.55 million? When will the Flyers ever learn? Goaltending has been an issue for them for about 20 years for the most part, and they seem to continually get burned.
The Panther’s did however find an assistant general manger by rehiring Mike Santos who has been the director of hockey operations for the Nashville Predators for the past four seasons. Santos was previously with the Panthers from 2001-2003 in various front office positions. Mike’s expeience will be a welcome addition to the Panthers, as he’s pretty well versed with the CBA, negotiating contracts, and has a very solid financial background, including budgeting. Gone are the days of the Panthers spending like a bunch of drunken sailors on furlough.
So, all that being said. How do you feel at this point? Depressed that nothing happened? Feeling like, oh no, here we go again waiting for the 35 year old journeyman to be signed? Or, are you relaxed and patient, knowing that there is a plan in place, and that they are sticking to it?
Let me hear ya. Leave some comments whatever they are. I’d like to know what the South Florida Fan base is feeling and thinking.
In the meatime, have a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend. If you’re around the Bank Atlantic Center on Sunday, there’s a BBQ and fireworks show going on, and it should be a good time.
Thanks for reading.
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