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Free Agent Frenzy 2015: Live Blog

MGreen

Sunshine State Hockey will be live blogging from 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM EST during the first day of NHL free agency. Stick with us all day for updates on the biggest signings and possible trades.

11:32 AM – We are officially live and just 28 minutes away from the start of free agency. Some early reports indicate that more than eight teams are interested in Joel Ward, including his current team, the Washington Capitals.

11:40 AM – David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports that the Bruins and Red Wings are in the mix for Mike Green. On the trade front, it seems Calgary and Toronto have talked about a deal for Phil Kessel, but nothing incoming yet.

11:45 AM – The Calgary Flames have re-signed goalie Karri Ramo to a one year contract. That takes him off of our top 30 UFA list.

11:52 AM – A highlight reel of the good and bad free agent signings from 2014 is being shown on the NHL Network. Dave Bolland was the first player shown on the bad list.

11:57 AM – The Penguins are currently the front runners for Phil Kessel.

12:00 PM – Free agent frenzy begins now!

12:02 PM – Blackhawks have signed newly acquired forward Artem Anisimov to a five year contract. Anisimov was traded to Chicago in the seven player deal for Brandon Saad.

12:10 PM – Toronto signs Matt Hunwick

12:11 PM – The signings are rolling in. Colorado signs Beauchemin to a three year contract. Goalie Thomas Greiss has signed with the Islanders for two years, $1.5 million per year.

12:14 PM – Adam Pardy re-signs with Winnipeg for one year while Washington signs Taylor Chorney.

12:21 PM – Just a reminder for Panthers fans. Scottie Upshall, Tomas Kopecky, and Brad Boyes are all free agents and will not be brought back to Florida.

12:27 PM – Hearing both Mark Letestu and Andrej Sekera are close to signing with the Edmonton Oilers.

12:38 PM – Paul Martin inks a four year deal with the San Jose Sharks.

12:41 PM – Andrej Sekera and Mark Letestu have signed with the Edmonton Oilers. Sekera will receive $5.5 million per for six years.

12:45 PM – Forward Blake Comeau goes to Colorado for three years. Chicago brings Viktor Tikhonov back to the NHL.

12:47 PM – TSN’s Bob McKenzie reporting that Michael Frolik might be heading to Calgary, nothing official yet but it seems to be a long term deal.

12:48 PM – David Pagnotta reporting that Michal Neuvirth has signed with Philadelphia.

12:49 PM – Brad Richardson and Steve Downie have signed with the Arizona Coyotes.

12:51 PM – Panthers seem to be searching for a backup goalie. That market is shrinking fast.

12:54 PM – Phil Kessel has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Kasperi Kapanen, Harrington, and a first round pick.

12:58 PM – Michael Frolik to Calgary is now official.

1:02 PM – Goalie Anders Lindback signs a one year contract with Arizona.

1:05 PM – Panthers quiet so far today. George Richards reporting that Tallon is working on a new contract for Huberdeau.

1:13 PM – Vancouver signs Matt Bartkowski to a one year contract worth $1.75 million.

1:16 PM – Barret Jackman moving from the Blues to the Predators for two years, $4 million per year.

1:19 PM – Florida Panthers sign three minor league players, goaltender Mike McKenna, forward Shane Harper, and defenseman Sena Acolatse.

1:21 PM – Zbynek Michalek is heading back to Arizona on a two year deal.

1:29 PM – Another backup goalie off the table as Jhonas Enroth signs a one year deal with LA.

1:31 PM – More pieces to that Phil Kessel deal. Details still coming in but Nick Spaling is heading to Toronto as part of the trade.

1:37 PM – Alex Burmistrov is coming back to North America, and back to the Jets on a two year contract.

1:51 PM – Rangers sign Diaz.

1:53 PM – Tampa Bay Lightning sign Eric Condra to a three year contract.

2:08 PM – Cody Hodgson signs with the Nashville Predators.

2:14 PM – Vancouver trades Kassian and a 5th round pick to Montreal for Prust.

2:19 PM – John Moore heads to New Jersey for three years.

2:26 PM – The finalized Phil Kessel trade can be seen on Sunshine State Hockey by clicking here.

2:27 PM – Senators sign Zack Stortini.

2:33 PM – The Flames sign Derek Grant, former Ottawa center, to a two way deal.

2:40 PM – We lost one in the shuffle of this frenzy. Toronto signed P.A. Parenteau.

2:42 PM – Aside from those minor league trades earlier in the day Florida has been completely silent so far. It is possible that they make no moves this year, which puts pressure on the young guys to carry the Panthers to a playoff berth this year.

2:52 PM – TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting that Viktor Stalberg is now a member of the New York Rangers.

2:54 PM – The Buffalo Sabres have signed 2015, 2nd overall pick Jack Eichel to a three year, entry level contract.

3:01 PM – Ruslan Fedotenko signs a two way contract with the Minnesota Wild.

3:10 PM – Blues LW Vladimir Tarasenko has received an offer sheet from the Dallas Stars for six years, $45 million, reports are that St. Louis will match.

3:11 PM – Carolina inks TJ Hensick.

3:14 PM – Mike Kostka signs a two way deal with the Ottawa Senators.

3:30 PM – We will be live blogging for 30 more minutes. It seems the signings and trades are starting to slow down.

3:31 PM – Former Blue Jackets player Brian Gibbons has signed with the Rangers.

3:41 PM – Penguins sign D-man David Warsofsky to a one year contract.

3:46 PM – George Richards just tweeted this quote from Panthers GM Dale Tallon: “We would have signed someone if it was a bargain. We weren’t going to overpay and block one of the kids.”

3:51 PM – The biggest signing of the day, Detroit inks defenseman Mike Green to a three year contract. Green was listed as our top available free agent.

3:56 PM – We will be live for just four more minutes. There are still plenty of big names available for the taking, such as Martin St. Louis, Justin Williams, and Joel Ward. Be sure to check all the major NHL news networks for any breaking deals after 4:00 PM. If the Panthers make any moves after 4:00 PM we will report them as soon as they happen.

4:00 PM – It is time for us to sign off for the evening. Thank you for joining us today and we hope everyone enjoyed our coverage of the 2015 free agent frenzy.

Playoff Predictions – Round 2

round 2

With round one of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs in the book it is time to move on to our predictions for the semi-finals, which begin tonight. before doing so, let’s take a look back at our predictions and see just how well we did.

Western Conference

Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues
Marc’s Prediction: St. Louis Blues, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: St. Louis Blues, 5 games

Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Marc’s Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Nashville Predators, 7 games

Anaheim Ducks vs Winnipeg Jets
Marc’s Prediction: Anaheim Ducks, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Anaheim Ducks, 6 games

Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames
Marc’s Prediction: Calgary Flames, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Vancouver Canucks, 6 games

Eastern Conference

Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators
Marc’s Prediction: Montreal Canadiens, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Ottawa Senators, 7 games

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings
Marc’s Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning, 5 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 games

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Marc’s Prediction: New York Rangers, 4 games
Ryan’s Prediction: New York Rangers, 6 games

Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders
Marc’s Prediction: Washington Capitals, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Washington Capitals, 7 games

Marc: 7-1 teams, 3-5 games
Ryan: 4-4 teams, 3-5 games

Round 2 Predictions

Western Conference

DucksvsFlamesAnaheim Ducks vs Calgary Flames
Marc’s Prediction: Anaheim Ducks, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Anaheim Ducks, 6 games

HawksWildMinnesota Wild vs Chicago Blackhawks
Marc’s Prediction: Minnesota Wild, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks, 5 games

Eastern Conference

HabsvsBoltsMontreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Marc’s Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Montreal Canadiens, 6 games

CapsvsRangersNew York Rangers vs Washington Capitals
Marc’s Prediction: New York Rangers, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: New York Rangers, 6 games

Playoff Predictions – Round One

playoffs
Over the next two days 16 teams will begin their quest to be named the 2015 Stanley Cup Champions. This season there are a few teams missing that are usually regulars in the playoffs, such as the Boston Bruins and last year’s champions, the Los Angeles Kings. They can thank the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, and New York Islanders, all teams that have not frequented the playoff picture in recent years, but have had a change in fortune this season. The 2014-2015 campaign was a tight race to the postseason, so hockey fans are guaranteed tough match-ups throughout the first round and beyond. That is why it will be harder this year than in the past to predict which club will come out on top, but we are going to give it our best try.

Western Conference

WildBluesMinnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues
Marc’s Prediction: St. Louis Blues, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: St. Louis Blues, 5 games

hawkspredsNashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Marc’s Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Nashville Predators, 7 games

NHL: DEC 07 Ducks at JetsAnaheim Ducks vs Winnipeg Jets
Marc’s Prediction: Anaheim Ducks, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Anaheim Ducks, 6 games

nucksflamesVancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames
Marc’s Prediction: Calgary Flames, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Vancouver Canucks, 6 games

Eastern Conference

habssensMontreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators
Marc’s Prediction: Montreal Canadiens, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Ottawa Senators, 7 games

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red WingsTampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings
Marc’s Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning, 5 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 games

pengsragsNew York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Marc’s Prediction: New York Rangers, 4 games
Ryan’s Prediction: New York Rangers, 6 games

capsislesWashington Capitals vs New York Islanders
Marc’s Prediction: Washington Capitals, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Washington Capitals, 7 games

Top 10 Moments Of The 2011-2012 Season: #1

In any professional sport over the course of a season teams have defining moments that separate the winners from the rest of the league. During the last couple of months we have highlighted nine of these moments from the Florida Panthers 2011-2012 season. Now, after over a month of waiting, it is finally time for us to reveal the number one moment on our countdown. Trust us when we say that this is a moment that will go down as one of the best in franchise history, especially considering the fact that all of the so called “hockey experts” wrote off the Panthers before the season even began.

#1 – SouthEast Champs (April 7th, 2012)

Leave it to the Panthers to wait until the final game of 2012 to have one of the most important season defining moments in franchise history. Florida held the number one spot in the SouthEast division for the majority of the season until Washington forced them into a must win situation in game number 82 against the Carolina Hurricanes. If Carolina wins the Cats drop out of the top spot in the SE, lose home ice advantage for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and fail to secure a divisional title that they owned for most of the 2011-2012 season. Thankfully Florida finished the year strong by defeating the Hurricanes 4-1 and winning their first ever divisional championship.

While the win was great the post-game celebration was even greater, especially for the diehard fans. The cheering section that has gathered in front of Pantherland since 2007 grew larger than ever before, no matter how hard Michael Yormark and his Club Red goons, aka security personnel, tried to stop it. On that night Panthers fans were finally able to speak the words “playoff hockey” inside the BankAtlantic Center for the first time in over a decade. Most importantly, during that glorious night, the fans were finally able to put the past 12 heart breaking years behind them.

Clearly everyone has their own favorite moment from the 2011-2012 season, including our good friend Donny Rivette, founder of Litter Box Cats. We reached out to Donny and asked him to share his most memorable moment from last year and this is what he had to say.

“What stands out to me? Simple: October 15, around 6 p.m, watching fans file in to the newly en-reddened BankAtlantic Center for the first home game of the 2011-12 campaign. Regardless of an existing 1-1 record, surprising to no one, given the previous opponents were the Islanders and Penguins. What cemented the impression was a sense of newfound excitement and reset-button enthusiasm which had been missing in previous openers. Before it was “here we go again; hope for the best but unquestionably ready for yet another pointless sweater giveaway in early April”. The undeniable sign of a True, though realistic fan, but this home opener had hallmarks of something far different. Nothing clear enough to establish as a physical manifestation of Victory By Committee, but anyone in the building that night should stand by the stereotype of a Community Engaged. This was a Big Ticket.”

“Unquestionably, more than a few folks morphed from “I attended due to boredom and/or a free ticket” to “I’m sold on this because it’s solid entertainment,” which was evident just in walking through the concourses as the game went on. The Panthers hadn’t yet won 2 games and word began to carry: this is where the action is. I’ve never personally met a larger number of admitted non-hockey fans before that night who changed their collective tune within an hour, and all were beside themselves with praise for a sport they previously gave so little attention to. A terrific night which set the stage for all which followed.”

We hope that our readers enjoyed Sunshine State Hockey’s countdown of the top 10 moments of Florida’s 2011-2012 season. This year was truly one to remember for Panthers fans everywhere. Hopefully the National Hockey League and its players association can reach a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before the September 15th deadline so we do not have to wait any longer for another memorable hockey season in South Florida.

Finally we would like to thank Donny Rivette from Litter Box Cats for his great input. We also want to remind our readers one final time to click through the links below for the full experience of moment #1.

NHL.com recap of moment #1

Litter Box Cats recap of moment #1

Stats from moment #1

Photos from moment #1

Source(s): Litter Box Cats, NHL

Campbell A Finalist For Lady Byng

The National Hockey League released the three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial trophy yesterday and among those selected was Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell. The other two individuals nominated for the award were New York Islanders left winger Matt Moulson and forward Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers.

Each season the Lady Byng trophy is handed out “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association votes on the winner which is announced at the annual NHL Awards Show held in Las Vegas, NV.

Campbell’s nomination comes after a solid campaign in which the 32 year old defender registered 53 points (4 G, 49) and averaged 26:53 minutes of ice time per game while only taking three minor penalties the entire year. What is even more impressive is that “Soupy” managed those impressive stats while playing in all 82 games for the Panthers this season. If Campbell were to win the Lady Byng Memorial trophy he would be the first defenseman to do so since Detroit’s Red Kelly won it after the 1953-1954 NHL season.

This year’s NHL Awards Show will take place on June 20th, 2012 from the Encore Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada. Be sure to tune in to see if Florida’s own Brian Campbell can take home the Lady Byng.

Source: NHL.com