Wake Me When The Season Starts!

Remaining UFA's. Bore Me.


One month into what is typically known as Free Agency Hysteria has turned into Free Agency Sereneness (got that from the dictionary).  All quiet on many fronts after an initial few days of silly contracts and the usual headscratching deals that were tossed around.  Like Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay going back to Calgary.  Like Derek Boogaard to the Rangers for four years, and Manny Malhotra to Vancouver for three years.  It’s not necessarily the money involved in these deals, although for Malhotra I think it is, it’s the length and where they are going as well.

The best deal that was made was probably the one that took place Monday afternoon with Marty Turco going to the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.  Marty signed for one year at $1.3 million dollars.  A steal?  Not quite, but a pretty reasonble deal for an accomplished veteran going to a team that he really wants to play for.

All that said, where does that leave our Florida Panthers in all this?  Well when I said the word sereneness, I meant it!  We’ve made two signings.  Chris Higgins  and Nathan Paetsch, who will be known as Patch Adams around these parts..  That’s it!  Did I miss anyone?  Now, the Panthers had a very solid draft and also made a trade or two, but this post is focusing on free agency, so I’m sticking with that.

As for who’s left, click on this link  and see for yourself.  The question I have to ask you is this.  Are you (we) interested in any of these reamining players?  Who fits?  Anyone?  Who do you want?  And I mean really want?

If  the Panthers are going to consider signing anyone of these players that are still left unsigned, the player is probably signing out of desperation.  No offence to Florida, as Dale Tallon has a plan to turn this franchise around, but let’s face it, this coming season is going to suck!  While it will be nice to see the second season of development of defenceman Dmitry Kulikov, and if first round pick and potential heartthrob Eric Gudbranson  can make the big sqaud, other issues are going to completely frustrate us. 

Will Little Stevie have anywhere near the success points he had last year?  Can David Booth survive the season without getting his bell rung again, and score anywhere close to 25-30 goals?  What versions of Steve Bernier  and Dennis Wideman  will we see?  Where’s the toughness going to come from?  All these questions will fill our brains during the season as we attempt to end a ten year playoff drought, which in reality, isn’t happening this year.

So, after looking at the list of remaining UFA’s, here’s a few that maybe the Panthers should consider, and why.  Or not.

Maxim Afinogenov.  He was pretty good in NHL 2K 2005.  Or was it 2004?

Arron Asham.  Grit.  Hustle.  Snarl.  Has some talent too.

Eric Belanger.  Would make Rhino expendable.  Bigger and tougher.

Kyle Wellwood.  Ok, that one is a joke.  I don’t want his chubby self anywhere near here.

Slim pickings.  Honestly, there really isn’t much left.  Other than that I think that they Panthers should invite these two players to camp for a tryout if they haven’t been signed yet. Marek Svatos  and Jonathan Cheechoo.  Svatos is two years removed from scoring 26 goals, and while he’s small, is fast and has decent hands.  Cheechoo, besides having won a scoring title a few years ago, and has one of the best names in hockey, is one of the hardest working players around.  Mostly because he has to, and he knows it.  I would love to see him revive his career.  He’s probably done, but a tryout couldn’t hurt could it?

Unless a trade is made the roster is pretty well set, baring a rookie making such a huge impression that the Cats are forced to keep him up.  Expect this team to have to work hard for everything they get.  Set your expectations low.  If you’re actually talking about making the playoffs, your delusional.  But if the team is exciting, and gives an effort for 60 minutes each and every game, then that will be better than the drek we watched last year.

As for the remaining free agents, forget it.  None of those players are going to change the team that much where we have to sign them. 

I think were done.  Get used to it.

Thanks for reading.

Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

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Tags: Arron Asham Dale Tallon Eric Gudbranson Florida Panthers Little Stevie Maxim Afinogenov

  • http://BroadStreetBuzz.com Eugene Markman

    I partially blame the GM’s who are tossing around lengthy contracts. They are locking up the top stars, and it’s we’re going to see less and less teams building through free agency. It’s all about trades and drafts now.

    • Frank Rekas

      Yea there seems to be a defitine chagne in the way thigs are going. I don’t think that the CBA has accomplished what it set out to do!

  • slapshot1106

    Since we obviously still need grit and toughness, the ones I’d be interested would be Aaron Asham, Steve Begin, Wayne Primeau, and Scott Walker… Also Atlanta has Josh Gratton and a sizeable, more talented Artuykhin.. Richard Park is a repsectable 3rd liner if we had a tougher team, but that’s not the Panthers…

    Eric Belanger is probably the most talented, but he and Asham will probably want more $$$ and to play for more of a contending team… I still think they should consider resigning Tarnasky, but bottomline, we can’t get rid of any of our many softer Fwds’ contracts… So I’m sure they don’t want to spend, even though we need the grit… I think we should consider seeing what kind of interest Frolik might have out there… We’re stuck with Olesz, Stillman, Rhino, and Bernier’s contracts, so take a chance that someone else might overpay for Frolik…

    • Frank Rekas

      The guys we’re stuck with like Weiss, Stillman and Rhino either have little trade value, or we are afraid to give them up. In reality, this team is not going to suffer if we lost any of those three. None of them provide the toughness that we are looking for.
      As for leadership, I don’t see it.

      We really need an aggressive and talented player that can set an example in both toughness and leadership. As well as produce some points.
      We are built again with too many 3-4th liners.

  • slapshot1106

    Yes I agree lack leadership and toughness is apparent.. In fairness, I think it’s lack of RETURN, as opposed to lack of willingness to trade.. Even with Weiss, I think some teams are interested, but not willing to give up a Top6 Fwd in return.. So the question arises, are you willing to give up Weiss for less than a Top6 fwd in return–maybe a package of a pick and a prospect??

    I think Tallon will ride it out for a few months, see how the group plays together, and then consider trading Weiss as the season progresses… It’s a tougher to sell seats if you trade your top scorer at the beginning of the season, even though his numbers were exagerrated.. I’d say our best chance would be if Matthias, who has some potential, is ready to step up and at least be a solid #2 ctr…

    As far as the team goes, it’s not the line-up anyone prefers, but one of the adavantages of the CBA is that teams can contend and rebuild quicker with each other… I’m not as negative, but i definitely would like to see changes along the way… And I still think Tallon should try to raid some of the silled teams’ AHL rosters for talent, as opposed to NHL retreads they might be trying to give away to save CAP space…

    We’re really going to have to develop some of our own. Let’s hope Bjugstad, who has the size, can become a solid NHLer in 2-3 years.. Until then, I doubt anyone’s giving away a sizeable #1 ctr for Weiss++, unless they don’t want to pay their guy…

    One other opportunity Tallon should consider is with T-VO. Now that your Hawks blew a gasket and opened up a can of worms with the goalie market, do we consider trading T-VO now or how much earlier than the trade deadline?? I doubt they want to trade him now, as I’m sure they’d like to give him a few months with the team, but it seems like the goalie position gets devalued when teams can win a CUP with a cheap goalie, and not even pony up an extra mill to keep him around?? I like Turco as a personality and he did sign awfully cheap, but what kind of message does that send to the rest of your team, when you can’t even step up to the plate for 1 more year at $2.75 mill?? I think they should’ve seriously considered trying to swap out Campbell’s contract, so they could’ve gotten some CAP relief…

  • Frank Rekas

    Slap Shot: The T-Vo situation has sailed past it’s most valuable point. Last year at the deadline was probably the most opportunistic time to trade him, or at the draft this year. Now, he’ll be a rental come this season’s deadline, and I don’t see anyway that we’ll resign him, even for a lesser amount. Trading him and grabbing Niemi was something I thought of, and I guess is possible. However, T-Vo’s contract is hefty. Niemi proved that you don’t need to spend huge bucks on goaltending (Luongo) to win a Cup.

    The Hawks tried desperately to sign Niemi not only before arbitration,but also after the decision was made. His agent Bill Zito, may have screwed his client by not taking some of the offers the Hawks made. Herein lies part of the problem. Agents trying to get the most money they can for their clients. Makes sense, but sometimes it hurts the player.
    Campbell’s contract is almost not tradeable. It was a big splash that Tallon made when he signed him, but I am sure it’s a move he would re-think. By about 1.5 million per year. Campbell is a good defenceman and is pretty solid on the PP, but he’s overpaid, and not many teams will take it on.
    The Hawks not being able to give Niemi $2.75 million comes down to the “offer sheet” that Doug Wilson gave to Nick Hjalmarson. Forcing the Hawks to decide on him, or Niemi. Niemi could end up in San Jose.
    This is why I don’t like offer sheets.

    As for Weiss, my favourite punching bag, if he was packaged with Horton, or Ballard, some of those deals could have been bigger. Teams are asking I’m sure, we just aren’t giving.
    He will become another case of the Panthers hanging on too long.

  • slapshot1106

    Yes, I agree T-Vo is a rental. Nobody wants to take on that CAP hit, especially as the goalie position gets devalued.. Too many goalies out there in the $3-4 mill range, and yes Vancouver has to have regrets now.. Also same thing with Horton and Weiss, there’s not as much demand as Panther fans would like to think… Just because they put up points on a weak Panthers team doesn’t make them extremely marketable, especially when they have a bad rap around the league as being as lazy as #16…

    Whether Niemi’s agent brought all the offers or not doesn’t really matter, the Hawks had their choice and chose not to pay $2.75…..Like I say I like Turco and wouldn’t mind seeing him have success, but there’s also reason he’s available at $1.3 mill.. Surely there’s probably some incentive bonuses for him in there, but it is a bit of a gamble….

    If Campbell is not tradeable, then the Hawks should’ve considered other options.. To let one guy’s contract make them have to get rid of multiple other players is ridiculous… As a Sabres fan, I know Campbell pretty well.. The Sabres are cheap, but they made the right call. He’s worth about $4mill, nowhere near $7mill… I think if the Hawks could’ve moved him or bought him out, they could’ve retained Ladd, Buff, and probably Burish, etc.. That sounds more logical than overpaying for a 3rd or 4th Dman, that already has a concussion issue..