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.
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