Dennis Seidenberg Source: Michael Dwyer AP/Greenwich Times

The Ex-Panther Factor: Dennis Seidenberg

With upcoming games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins, my potential victims choices for today’s post were slim.  Gregory Campbell already appeared as a subject here so I couldn’t write about him again, much to the disappointment of staff writer Paige Lewis.  Therefore I was left with only two choices, and Dennis Seidenberg won.  Or would you say lost?

The 30 year old defenceman has been well traveled throughout his NHL career having played for five teams with the Florida Panthers being his shortest stop.  Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 6th round (172nd overall) in 2001, Seidenberg has played for the Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, and now the Boston Bruins.  His best season statistically speaking turns out to be last season with the Boston Bruins where he won his first Stanley Cup.  Seidenberg had seven goals, 25 assists for 32 points and was a plus three.  He had 11 points on the power play which included 10 assists.

Signed as a free agent almost before training camp started in 2009, Dennis played 62 games for the Florida Panthers before being dealt to the Bruins for what amounted to a case of Molson and a second round pick in the 201o draft.  Byron Bitz was one of the players acquired by the Panthers, and as we know Bitz played a grand total of seven games for the Panthers before going down with one of the most mysterious injuries ever.  Kevin Dineen who’s been very coy at describing injuries would have had no problem hiding this one since almost no one knew what was keeping Bitz off the ice.

Back to the subject of today, Seidenberg was a serviceable, stay at home defenceman who had some offensive talent. The German born defender played 62 games for the Panthers and put up 2 goals to go along with 21 assists., and was a minus three.  Not big at 6′ 1″ and 214 lbs, he still managed to play a physical game, and was always more than willing to play the body and finish his checks.  He was also very willing to stick up for his teammates as this video shows. The general manager of the Panthers at the time, Randy Sexton had this to say about signing Seidenberg after he was invited to training camp:

“Dennis is a strong and physical defenseman who is hard to play against,” said Sexton. “He adds size and speed to our club and helps to solidify our blueline. He played a key role in Carolina’s playoff run last season and we expect the same contributions from him as a Panther this year.”

Coming to the Panthers seemed to make sense at the time for Seidenberg who’s wife went to high school in Boca Raton, and her parents wintered in Palm Beach.  Cory Stillman a Panther at the time as well, played with Seidenberg in Carolina and was influential in getting Dennis to sign with in Florida.

“I spoke to him about a week ago after I heard we were interested in acquiring him,” Stillman said. “I told him we have a good team and that he would fit in well and be given an opportunity to play. He is a hard worker who can skate, shoot and block shots and he will help make our club better.”

Seidenberg’s tenure with the Panthers was short lived however, and was later moved to the Bruins in the aforementioned trade.  Despite the draft pick that came along in the trade which turned out to be defenceman Alexander Petrovic, Sexton was outsmarted in this one,  A task that wasn’t difficult to do.  In 81 games played for the Bruins last season, Seidenberg had 7 goals and 25 assists for 32 points, and was credited with 161 hits.  An important part of the Bruins defensive core, he had signed a four year deal prior to the season beginning as the Bruins felt he would play a large role in their quest for a Stanley Cup.

Seidenberg was a key player on the Bruins in one of the most lopsided losses in Florida Panther history.  On December 23rd of 2010 Seidenberg had a goal, an assist and was a plus two as the Bruins annihlated a beat up and completely overmatched Panthers team 8-0.  The game if you recall wasn’t even close as described here.

While most of the time this post usually requires me to become sarcastic, snarky, or vindictive, there’s none of that here regarding Seidenberg.   I was happy when the Panthers signed him as a free agent, but befuddled when learning he was traded, and even more confused when I saw what the return was.  He seems to have found a home in Boston, and is well liked by his teammates and the fans.  At $3.25 million per year, and two more years remaining that signing looks miles better than the six year elephant that Jay Bouwmeester has.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

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Tags: Alexander Petrovic Boston Bruins Dennis Seidenberg Drafted By The Boston Bruins Florida Panthers Randy Sexton The Ex Panther Factor

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