Are Panthers Playing it Safe, or Being Cheap?


After GM Jacques Martin got out of town last season and fled to one of the most sought after coaching positions in the NHL,  Alternate Governor Bill Torrey was put in charge of finding a new General Manager for the hockey club.  During the search, assistant GM Randy Sexton would take over the day to day operations of that position.  Randy’s entry to the positon would be severely tested since at the time of the change, the draft was about to begin, and free agency would be under way shortly.

A number of names were mentioned for consideration at the time.  People like Neil Smith, Pierre McGuire, Doug Risebrough, and former Panther’s coach and former GM of Columbus, Doug MacLean.  It was believed that MacLean was a finalist for the position, however things have changed and it appears that the job is Sexton’s for now.  It seems the norm around here that the position can be filled by someone in the organization and not require additional salary.  Another way for the cash strapped Panthers to save money.  Don’t rock the boat.  Maintain consistency and keep heading in one direction, which here in Florida appears to be in circles.

The organization which is in a state of dissaray flux has indicated that they are happy with what Sexton has done and for now he will be given the chance to continue in the positon.  Right or wrong, this smells of the same pattern that the Florida Panthers have shown previously.  Afraid to make a move, and afraid to spend the money on someone more qualified.   I will not sit here and say the the aforementioned candidates are good or bad, yet I will say that in my opinion, this is just more of the same.   Again, last year was a year that the Panthers could have built on.  Rumours of Martin going to Montreal were floating as early as the trade deadline, and became more popular after Guy Carbonneau was let go. 

Head coach Peter Deboer and Sexton seem to work well together however, and have forged a lineup that while is still short on offense,  are happy with,  and know that going into the season, they must continue to improve, and strive to make the playoffs.   The problem as always with the Panthers is money.  They just aren’t spending much.  Lost opportunities on players like Alex Tanguay, Petr Sykora, and a host of other free agents that offensively could have helped Florida.  Instead the focus has again been on defense, with a number of solid additions being made, yet in this writers opinion, the offense will be wanting.  Steven Reinpricht coming over from Phoenix will be the secondline center this year, and beyond that not much more offense was acquired.  I will admit that with the loss of Jay Bouwmeester, Karlis Skrastins and Nick Boynton the Panthers had to decide on either filling those spots with youth, or getting experienced help.  With what Sexton has done so far, I like the “D”.  I just feel that offensively there is not enough to go around and that too much pressure is going to be placed on players to have career years again!  Sexton did resign David Booth, and Radek Dvorak and acquired Scott Clemmensen to back up Tomas Vokoun, but apparently could not convince any high powered offensive player to come here.  That could be his downfall should the Panthers miss the playoff for the ninth consecutive year!

Who is to say that another General Manager that might be more qualified could have done a better job.  With Sexton’s hands tied due to the potential sale of the team, I am sure that the situation would not have been much different if another body was brought in.  But with the sale looming over the organization, that could be a reason why it was virtually impossible to acquire any offense, or a general manager that may be more qualified.

Life will go on and hopefully that sale is completed so that things can settle down and the cloud can be lifted.  In the meantime, keep smiling Randy, cause you’re the man!

Thanks for reading.