Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Only a little bit..

George Richards wrote late last night that the sale of the team to SPAC was not only not dead, but could possibly be announced - maybe as early as today.

The NHL's Board of Governors is meeting today in Chicago and this sale is apparently on the agenda.

Should a sale go through, it is entirely possible that the Panthers could see someone other than Sexton taking over as general manager and that could explain why it has taken such a long time to make a hire at an otherwise rather important time of the off-season.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Evgeni Dadonov and North America

While we wait for news on a now-refuted Tanguay-to-the-Panthers rumour, there's a little bit of a development with the NHL/KHL contract situations affecting a couple of players, most notably, Detroit's Jiri Hudler - but the one most concerning the Panthers: Evgeni Dadonov.

The main piece in this is of course Detroit's Jiri Hudler signing over in the KHL for next season. Players make the jump quite often these days, but Hudler is a restricted free agent that had filed for salary arbitration prior to signing.

It was then contested by the league that Hudler, in filing for arbitration, had committed to the NHL as a ruling would then essentially put Detroit in the driver's seat for a moment: either accept the contract awarded or walk away and lose Hudler entirely as an unrestricted free agent allowing him the freedom to sign wherever he wants.

So this brings us to today: KHL president Alexander Medvedev agreed that the league will not process Hudler's contract until his arbitration hearing is settled, in keeping with the "gentleman's agreement" in place between the two leagues.

Medvedev went on to cite the Atlanta Thrashers' retraction of a contract offered to Joel Kwiatkowski recently, as Kiwi, a former Panther, was still under contract with Cherepovets in the Continental League.

So, does this bode well for those of us hoping to see Evgeni Dadonov make the switch to North America this season?

It's still quite possible. If the rumours are true and Dadonov has indeed signed with the Panthers, there's not really anything that the KHL can do to stop it. But, they can create a big fuss over the issue and one has to wonder if Florida would then back down.

The KHL wants to protect its assets and Dadonov is a good one. If he chooses to abandon the Russian contract, sanctions would fly and there would undoubtedly be some bitterness (again) between the two leagues. But then, perhaps in such a situation, the league would simply agree to negotiate compensation to release Dadonov from his contract and let the issue die.

Has Tanguay Signed with Florida?

According to Eklund (yes, yes, I know), it's not only a rumor but a confirmation (e5) that Tanguay has signed a contract with the Panthers.

There is no news elsewhere yet that I have seen, but keep an eye out. He was right on Koistinen and he was on with Tallon, so it.. might.. be possible..?

4:30 PM: Panthers interim GM Randy Sexton has told Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel that the reports are 'false'

Meanwhile, Tanguay is listed at the NHLPA website as a member of the Montreal Canadiens again next season, set to earn $5.375M. I guess we'll see soon enough.

Rochester Adds Two More

The Panthers signed center Jamie Johnson yesterday to a one-year deal, while the Amerks have brought a favored face to Rochester for two years, themselves.

For Florida, Johnson's signing points largely towards the AHL, but two seasons back, he was one of the better players on the Albany River Rats, scoring 20+ and just under 60 points before heading to Finland to play with TPS for a season. TPS, of course, being the team from which we plucked Alexander Salak. In a shortened 42 game season in Finland, Johnson scored eight goals and a total of 28 points.

Like most of the signings this off-season, Johnson will probably have a chance at the NHL out of camp, as Florida is still a few players short.

Up in Rochester, however, Chris Taylor returns to a team where he played for seven years, scoring above a point per game in his career with the Amerks (369 in 367), good enough for eighth on the club's all time list.

Taylor spent the past three seasons in Germany and led the Frankfurt Lions in scoring in all three, so at worst? Rochester has added a face to the team once again, and a face that at worst, can still put up some points.

But most importantly, they've added a true leader and a player that can provide a hugely positive influene on Panthers' prospects.

And what's more, they might not yet be finished.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Panthers/Amerks Sign Graham Mink

The Panthers, staying true to their word that they are committed to building a winner in Rochester to help their prospects develop, today announced that the club has signed AHL veteran Graham Mink to a two-year deal.

While all of the signings will likely have at least an itty-bitty chance to make the NHL roster this fall, this looks to be the third pickup that the team has made for Rochester: Jeff Taffe and Clay Wilson being the other two.

Florida signed Ville Koistinen several days ago (I know, I'm behind) and acting GM Randy Sexton would neither confirm nor deny a rumor that the club is interested in Alex Tanguay.

The Cats have been operating with self-imposed caps and we don't really know what it is this season, but they probably aren't there yet (the payroll is pretty low compared to the averaged cap hit), though many of the options are dwindling in free agency as we press on through the second week of July.

Among the players that are off the market now are former Panthers that have moved on to new clubs; first, Tanner Glass signed a deal with the Vancouver Canucks and today, Anthony Stewart signed a one-year contract that will take him to Atlanta.

Also, I've been trying to tweak some settings on the template, so some things might look different (or bad).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Leopold in the Fold (One year, $1.75M)

I don't know which is better. My rhyming skills or that we signed a much-needed defenseman.

Really though, I know it's the skills.

The contract is, according to TSN, for $1.75M. Not bad at all. That puts the Panthers around $49M against the cap, although the reality is that it's a little bit lower. Team payroll is closer to $44M.

If you don't factor in the Amerks as possible roster players next season, Florida has eleven forwards and now five contracted defensemen and two goaltenders, so they are presumably not yet finished.

Panthers Sign Clay Wilson

The Panthers have signed defenseman Clay Wilson to a two-year deal, per the Panthers' twitter. This is a Rochester-based move, though Wilson probably can be a sufficient emergency call-up (right now, he might fit in on the Cats top six, but I digress, I've made myself sad).

Wilson played for four different teams last year (Columbus and Atlanta in the NHL and their affiliates, Syracuse and Chicago in the AHL), but the vast majority of his season was in the AHL.

In seven NHL games (total) he had an assist, and in 70 AHL games, he had 45 points (14 goals).

So this looks like a good signing for the Amerks, especially if the Panthers don't snatch up some more defense. You have to think we're going to get someone else, though. The Panthers roster isn't even up to twenty, yet.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Free Agency Begins at Noon

And I have to leave for work in fifteen minutes. That sucks.

But since I won't be able to follow the news of the day (until three or so, so at least I'll be home relatively early?), you'll have to do it for me and I'll be there in spirit geeking out over the joys of July 1, which happens to be Canada Day as well. So happy Canada Day, Canada.

Aside from George Richards and Steve Gorten, look to Litter Box Cats for the best Panther fan blog online - it looks like he'll be around all day long, so if you miss something, you'll probably catch it there.

And by there, I mean here:

Then there's Twitter. Whether you love it or you hate it (personally, I hate it but I can't stop using it for hockey news) has become the place to get these big deals as they break and before TSN and other major outlets can confirm them. So of course, some of it is a load.

Since the draft, a couple have stood out to be pretty reliable and so you may want to check these (or just get a TweetDeck thing, so far it's made it easier for me to continue ignoring Twitter unless something useful happens) and throw them all in there:

Kevin Allen (USA Today)
Darren Dreger (TSN)

For Panthers specifically:

Florida Panthers
On Frozen Pond
Rochester Americans
Let's Go Amerks

There will definitely be some news today with the Amerks because there's a press conference today to announce the new VP of hockey ops up north. Possibly NOT Jody Gage.

Hey, look. While I was typing, the Tweet Deck made a noise and updated with a new Twitter thing from Let's Go Amerks: Ted Nolan the new VP of hockey operations. So there's that. Keep your eyes on that, sh--tuff gets real at 1 PM.

Then I think there's ESPN's Pierre LeBrun who has been pretty solid. This is his blog at ESPN:

So there you have it. Have fun for me.