Sunday, October 10, 2010

#1: Panthers @ Oilers: 8PM ET

Tonight's lines per George Richards:

Booth - Weiss - Frolik
Stillman - Matthias - Dvorak
Higgins - Santorelli - Olesz
Hordichuk - Reasoner - Bernier

Garrison - Weaver
McCabe - Kulikov
Allen - Wideman


Scratches: McArdle, Reinprecht
Injuries: Bitz

Amerks Win Season Opener

The Amerks took on the Toronto Marlies on Saturday in Toronto to kick off the season and picked up a 4-2 win in goaltender Jacob Markström's North American regular season debut.

Markström, 20, faced 23 shots en route to his first AHL victory. Nathan Paetsch (now with Vancouver), Michael Nylander, Bill Thomas and Clay Wilson scored the four Amerks' goals but rookie defenseman Colby Robak notched a pair of assists - his first pro points - in the game.

Rochester is currently in the first intermission of their home opener against Hershey, although through one, the Bears have dominated play. The shots through one are 16-5. Through one, Markström has turned aside all 16 he's faced.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peters Traded to Vancouver, Staying with Amerks

Not long after clearing waivers, the Panthers announced that they had traded fighter Andrew Peters to the Vancouver Canucks for former Panthers enforcer Darcy Hordichuk.

The trade helps Vancouver with cap space by freeing up $775k, but it also shaves off close to three-quarters of a million dollars in actual payroll as Hordichuk is on a one-way contract. Since he wasn't going to make the Canucks roster - and he already cleared waivers - the Canucks would still have been on the hook for his salary had he been assigned to Manitoba. Why is this relevant to the Panthers?

Andrew Peters is on a two-way contract and Vancouver really doesn't need him, just like they no longer need Hordichuk. So they're much happier losing the cap hit and saving the money. As there was no real AHL plan for Hordichuk, there was no real AHL plan for Peters with Vancouver and thus, it looks like the Canucks will simply send Andrew Peters back to Rochester. So while this trade is far from groundbreaking, the two teams have helped each other out a bit. Florida takes Hordichuk off the Canucks' hands and in return, Vancouver keeps Peters in Rochester - a nice move, as Peters' living in Western New York probably played a major role in his signing with the Panthers.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gudbranson Back to Kingston

Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images
In a bit of a surprise turn of events, the Panthers and this summer's third overall pick, Erik Gudbranson, failed to reach an agreement before this evening's 5:00 PM deadline. As a result, Gudbranson will return to Kingston for another year in the OHL.

It looks like money was the hang-up, but in reality, few expect the Panthers to truly contend this season. Why waste the money on the extra bonuses, especially if you haven't much to go around? Florida saves a little here and when the season ends and contracts expire, they'll have more to work with in the next round of negotiations.

And depending on Erik's season, it could work out well for him in the long run.

There's also the realistic possibility that Gudbranson may have been returned to the OHL after a handful of games anyway so that his ELC could be preserved for next. No doubt that was an outcome the Cats considered, so while the return came sooner than they may have expected, the excess of defenders shows us that they were prepared for it.

Gudbranson's chances of being on Team Canada in the winter have just gone way up with this news, so the World Juniors will be an exciting time for Panthers fans.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tampa Bay 2 | Florida 1 (OT)

Associated Press
SUNRISE, Florida (AP) - Mike Lundin scored 3:21 into overtime, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Friday night.

Simon Gagne also scored for the Lightning, who improved to 3-1-1 this preseason and 12-3-3 over the last three years.

Jason Garrison had goal for Florida, which dropped its second consecutive game after winning its first three.
Goalie Mike Smith made 29 saves in his first start of the preseason for Tampa Bay breaking his finger during practice Sept. 20.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 40 shots for Florida. He helped the Panthers kill off eight Tampa Bay power plays. Florida is now 32 for 32 in penalty killing this preseason.

The teams meet Saturday night in Tampa in the preseason finale for both.

Florida was playing its first preseason game at home. The Panthers were scheduled to play host to Carolina on Wednesday night, but the game was canceled because of tropical storm Nicole.

Lundin's winner came while the teams were playing 3 on 3 following unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to Tampa Bay's Mathieu Roy and Florida's Cory Stillman.

Gagne scored his third goal of the preseason at 8:24 of the second period off a 2-on-1 with Vincent Lecavalier. Vokoun stopped Gagne's redirect of Lecavalier's pass, but Gagne's backhanded off the rebound trickled over his shoulder.

Garrison tied at 14:35 of the third period when he put his own rebound past Smith.

Record Crowd for Panthers' Pre-Season Loss

According to Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, Friday night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning drew 11,688 fans to the BAC. To find the last time the Panthers had such a high pre-season turnout, you'd have to go back to the October 2, 2005 matchup, also against the Lightning, which drew 15,307.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amerks Acquire Michael Nylander

According to Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Florida Panthers have agreed to a loan deal with the Washington Capitals that will bring forward Michael Nylander back to North America to center the Amerks' top line.

As this appears to be a loan, Nylander otherwise has no affiliation with the Panthers. His contract remains Washington property, so the closest he will come to the Panthers is playing with their prospects in Rochester.

Nylander, 37, has been hampered by injuries for the past two years, specifically a torn rotator cuff. He suffered the injury against the Panthers, of all teams, in late 2007. He had surgery in early 2008 and missed the remainder of the season. He returned to the Capitals for the 2008-09 season, scoring nine goals and putting up 33 points in 72 games. The injury and subsequent production drop, combined with Nylander's $4.875M cap hit, led to his being waived by the Caps and eventually assigned to Grand Rapids in the AHL.

In 24 AHL games last season, Nylander put up 18 points (two goals) in addition to totals of 3-4-7 in 14 games with Jokerit of Finland's SM-liiga.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Panthers Trim Roster by 8

The Panthers made a number of cuts over the past 24 hours, sending forwards Bill Thomas, Triston Grant and goalie Tyler Plante to Rochester prior to Monday night's game against the Canadiens. After the game, Scott Timmins, Michal Repik, Mike Duco and Evgeny Dadonov (all forwards) were reassigned.

Florida also returned 2010's 25th overall selection, Quinton Howden, to the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors.

Wednesday's Game Canceled Due to Tropical Storm

SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers announced today that their home preseason game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, Sept. 29, has been canceled due to the threat of severe weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Nicole.

“We felt that it was in the best interest and safety of our fans, our players and the Carolina Hurricanes to cancel Wednesday’s game due to the threat of the impending tropical storm,” said Florida Panthers Executive Vice President/General Manager Dale Tallon. “We look forward to seeing all our fans on Friday night when we host the Tampa Bay Lightning.”
If you have tickets for Wednesday's game, you can exchange them for seats at one of nine regular season games via the Panthers' website.

The nine games:

October 21st vs Dallas
November 3 vs Atlanta
December 7 vs Colorado
December 15 vs Carolina
January 5 vs Atlanta
January 13 vs Nashville
January 17 vs Atlanta
January 19 vs Columbus
February 8 vs St. Louis

Back for the 2010-11 Season, I hope

It's been a long time since I've posted on here, as work pretty much kept me hours behind when anything happened. But, I miss doing it so even if I'm behind, I'll still be able to keep up with prospect updates and such. If things get back to the way they were a couple of seasons ago, I'll probably move everything to a regular site and I'll try to make everything much simpler and much cleaner. But until then, we'll see if I keep this up.

Also stop spamming me, internet.

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.