While I realize that this is old news, as in reported on many fronts yesterday, I felt the need to comment on the amount of blueliners that the Florida Panthers are adding to the mixture. You can never have enough good defenceman can you? Although not sure if I would classify all of them as good, but you get the idea as General Manager Dale Tallon is building a healthy dose of competition for six spots amongst eight suitors for the position.
Building from the net out is what Tallon is doing and can’t say that I blame him. At this point we are still an offensively challenged group with the lines that you saw me map out yesterday, so in order to compensate for the lack of goals that we will score, we need to build up on trying to prevent goals.
Added to the mix were Jason Garrison who played with the Panthers last season and had a strong finish during the last 10 games or so of the year, and former Buffalo Sabre and Columbus Blue Jacket defenceman Nathan Paetsch. Pronunced Pash. Or Patch Adams (Thanks Hank!!) Garrison was signed to a two year deal where he will receive $650,000 in 2010-2011 and $700,000 for 2011-2012. It’s a one way contract for the young defenceman who has paid his dues and appears to be ready for full time duty. Not at all flashy, and a stay at home type, Garrison will feel more comfortable with the deal itself, however, Paetsch will give him and possibly the other’s such as number one pick Eric Gudbranson stiff competition.
Garrison appeared in 39 games overall for the Panthers last season and was rewarded with more playing time as the season wore on, performing fairly well in the situations that head coach Peter DeBoer put him in. Garrison had two goals and six assists for eight points and was a plus five, while averaging just over 15 minutes of ice time.
Paetsch’s deal is for one year at $525,000 and he’s excited to be able to compete for a roster spot with the Panthers and views this as a good opportunity for himself. He brings some verstility and toughness as well, as he has also played on the wing, which can come in handy during times of injuries. Nathan appeared in 21 games for Columbus last season, after spending the earlier part of his career with the Buffalo Sabres. His most productive season for the Sabres was in 2006-2007 when he accumulated 24 points in 63 games.
So while these moves certainly don’t bring any excitement whatsover, what Tallon is doing is building the roster with players that will compete for jobs until he can put together the team that he ultimately wants on the ice. The contracts given out yesterday are a far cry from the types of deals that the Panthers have done in the past. The spending of money like drunken sailors is apparently over. For Tallon too. He has to be smarter, and more selective with who he brings in and how he spends money.
I like the idea of healthy competition. In addition Tallon mentioned that he’s not done looking for good defencemen and could possibly pick up another, or invite another to camp. The thing about this is that there is no need to rush Gudbranson if he’s not ready. While many of us would love to see him start the season with the big club, let’s not put any more pressure on him than there needs to be.
I will close on that note with one comparison in respect to that. In 2009, Toronto drafted Luke Schenn, and Buffalo drafted Tyler Myers. Schenn went right to the NHL and Myers spent a year in the minors. Last year was the first for Myers as he saw regular playing time on the blue line and won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Schenn has struggled after a quick start. Obviously the year of seasoning and patience for Myers paid off.
If that makes Gudbranson better, than so be it. Aren’t we (you) tired of seeing young players being rushed to make the team and floundering along the way? Again, fans, manage your expectations. The plan is to rebuild and to restock this team. It’s not exciting I agree. But you have to like the methodology so far.
In the event that you forgot who Patch Adams was, here’s the video trailor for the movie. To one of my loyal readers Hank, this is for you!
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