Vandermeer and Milan Lucic exchanging pleasantries. Photo Source: AP

Rat Trick Free Agent Preview: Jim Vandermeer

The free agent signing period begins today! The Florida Panthers have approximately $22 million to spend just to reach the salary cap floor, which means the team will need to be active to reach that mark. Over the past few days we’ve been taking a look at players we hope might be on the Cats radar (and vice versa). In this installment, we’ll take a look Jim Vandermeer

If you’re a team in the market for a defensemen, the selection has gotten smaller as the free agent signing period has gotten closer. Just about every big name has either re-upped with their 2010-2011 club or has had their rights traded and signed with the new club. Because that list has shrunk, someone like Vandermeer could receive more attention than they previously thought.

The well-traveled d-man has his second best year point wise last season with the Edmonton Oilers with 14 points (2 G) for a bad team. While not a puck-moving, offensive minded defenseman, he is a touch, steady presence defensively who, as evidenced by the photo above, isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. That type of truculence is something that has been missing for years in Sunrise and would certainly be welcome to a team looking to change its identity of being soft. He’d certainly be a nice guy to have on a third pairing and at 31 isn’t a bad short term option while the kids develop in juniors or AHL. And this team can use all of the veteran leadership it can get.

Last season, Vandermeer made $2.3 million and because of the suddenly dried up market, one would think that he’s be getting a raise, especially if he were to sign here. With the Cats so far from the floor, I’m sure his representation is hoping to see a 954 area code show up on their cell phones sometime after 12 today.

And with that, the Rat Trick Free Agent Preview comes to a close. In a short time all of the questions that we’ve asked for the past week will get their answers. Thanks for reading! Let the madness (and overspending) begin!

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Tags: Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers Jim Vandermeer

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