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Former Panthers Dominate Playoff Rosters

Aside from the actual Florida Panthers making the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs there are a lot of former Cats on the other teams participating in the post-season. What is the point of bringing this up? During the 12 year’s without playoff hockey Panthers fans would use this time of year as an excuse to cheer on former members of the organization. Thankfully that is not the case this season as fans in South Florida finally have their club to cheer for in the final 16. Of course that does not mean we should completely forget about our team’s history, especially the bright spots (David Booth) in the dark 12 year’s without playoff action. To help bring back some memories, good or bad, we have compiled a complete list of former Panthers players currently playing for the other organizations in the post-season.

Eastern Conference

#1 New York Rangers:

#44 Steve Eminger – D, played 9 games for Florida during the 2008-2009 season.

#2 Boston Bruins:

#11 Gregory Campbell – C, was a member of the Panthers from 2003 to 2010.

#18 Nathan Horton – RW **, drafted 3rd overall by Florida in 2003.

#44 Dennis Seidenberg – D, Traded to Boston from Florida on March 3rd, 2010.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins:

No former Panthers on Pittsburgh’s active roster.

#5 Philadelphia Flyers:

#6 Andreas Lilja – D, played in 135 games for the Panthers.

#6 New Jersey Devils:

#18 Steve Bernier – RW, spent the 2010-2011 season in South Florida, registering 15 points in 68 games.

#20 Ryan Carter – C, started this season with the Cats before being claimed off of waivers.

#7 Washington Capitals:

#29 Tomas Vokoun – G, was the Panthers #1 goaltender for four seasons before signing with Washington.

#6 Dennis Wideman – D, picked up 9 goals in one season with Florida.

#8 Ottawa Senators:

#41 Craig Anderson – G, a definite fan favorite during three year’s in Sunrise, FL.

#35 Alex Auld – G, part of the blockbuster trade that sent Luongo to the Canucks.

#17 Filip Kuba – D, played only 18 games in two year’s with the Panthers.

Western Conference

#1 Vancouver Canucks:

#4 Keith Ballard – D, still famous in South Florida for his hip check on Evgeni Malkin.

#34 Byron Bitz – RW, was injured during the majority of his time with Florida.

#7 David Booth – LW, spent six year’s with the Panthers before being traded at the start of this season.

#20 Chris Higgins – LW, another member of the 2010-2011 “blueprint” squad.

#1 Roberto Luongo – G, a member of the Cats for five seasons before being dealt to Vancouver.

#2 St. Louis Blues:

No former Panthers on St. Louis’ active roster.

#3 Phoenix Coyotes:

#13 Ray Whitney – LW, was on Florida’s roster the last time the team made the playoffs.

#4 Nashville Predators:

No former Florida players on the Predators active roster.

#5 Detroit Red Wings

#44 Todd Bertuzzi – RW, traded to Detroit for Shawn Matthias in 2007.

#6 Chicago Blackhawks:

#67 Michael Frolik – RW, drafted by Florida in the 2006 entry draft.

#5 Steve Montador – D, played as a d-man and forward during his three year’s with the Panthers.

#7 San Jose Sharks:

#22 Dan Boyle – D, stayed in South Florida for four seasons and played in 129 games for the Cats.

#18 Dominic Moore – C, NHL journeyman that spent one season in Florida.

#8 Los Angeles Kings

LA does not have any former Panthers on their active roster.

** indicates currently injured players

That makes for a total of 23 players that played for the Florida Panthers at one time during their careers. Some, like Roberto Luongo and David Booth, had a bigger impact on the Panthers history than others, but the fans in South Florida still appreciate the time those men gave to their favorite hockey team.

Do not forget to tune into game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals match-up between the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils. Tonight’s game will be a good one, especially since the series in now tied 1-1 after Florida’s win on Sunday, their first in 15 year’s. Coverage begins at 7:00 PM EST on the NHL Network.

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Florida Panthers Goaltending Situation

Goaltending

With the Panthers signing Jose Theodore to a two year $3 million dollar contract and Tomas Vokoun signing with the Washington Capitals earlier this summer, it has left many Panthers fans wondering what they can expect with the goaltending situation for the 2011-2012 season. Who will Dineen choose as the starting goalie? What can we expect to see? Let’s compare, contast and do a little speculation shall we?

While both Theodore and Clemmensen are the same age (34), their experience levels differ greatly. Drafted only 3 years apart, Theodore has already won both the Vezina and Hart trophies, played in 51 NHL post season games with a 2.82 GAA, and played in over 500 career NHL games. Clemmensen has only made one 7 minute NHL post season appearance with the New Jersey Devils in 2006 and played in a career total of 122 NHL games. When it comes to experience, Theodore clearly takes the cake. Should the Panthers make a post season run, Theodore’s knowledge and experience will benefit the Panthers greatly.

When it comes to speculating over which goalie will start and which will be back up, it really can go either way. Both goalies have had their shares of ups and downs. Lets take a look: During the 2005-2006 season, Theodore lost his starting role to Cristobal Huet and consequently was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche in March of 2006 where he also lost the starting role to Budaj. Jose did improve in the 2007-2008 season and regained the starting role in Colorado. The very next season, he helped lead the Washington Capitals into the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2009 and followed that with a great season with the Minnesota Wild where he earned his 250th career win in early 2011. Clemmensen on the other hand proved to be a solid backup for the Devils after Martin Brodeur suffered a major injury.Scott posted a 25-13-1 record with two shutouts in Brodeur’s absence during the 2008-2009 season. During Scott’s time as a back up for Vokoun with the Panthers, he has had a 9-8-2 record in 2009-10, and a 8-11-7 record in 2010-11. Looks like both goalies will have to prove themselves until one of them earns the starting role.

Only one thing is certain; With the addition of Jose Theodore’s experience to the Panthers’ goaltending, it will add depth and veteran leadership to the team which sets the stage for an exciting 2011-2012 Panthers hockey season.

Washington Signs A Discounted Vokoun

Tomas Vokoun thought he held all the cards when it came to this years free agency. After him and his agent turned down multiple deals from the Panthers (including a three year contract) to test the market on July 1st things quickly went south for the former Florida netminder. When free agency opened at 12 PM Friday there were multiple teams that could have used a starting goalie, but that situation quickly changed.

Just hours after the market opened teams looking for a starting goaltender (Florida, Phoenix, Colorado, and Tampa Bay) found their men, and none of them were named Tomas Vokoun. This forced Vokoun to wait until day two to sign a much cheaper contract compared to what he had in South Florida. The team that signed him? The Washington Capitals. The length and value of the deal? 1 year, $1.5 million. Not only did Vokoun take a $4.2 million pay cut but he also cost himself a longer, stable contract because he overvalued himself.

We here at Sunshine State Hockey cannot wait to see the first Panthers home game against the Capitals next season. We are positive that the fan base will give Mr. Vokoun a very warm welcome when he takes the ice for the first time in four years as an apposing player.

Brad Richards Signs With New York

Brad Richards is in a New York state of mind this morning after he decided to sign with the Rangers. The best player in this years free agent market made his choice just a little while ago after listening to multiple GM’s yesterday who lined up to pitch their offers for his services. The contract will keep Richards in New York for 9 years and during the course of his stay he will be making $58.5 million.

The interesting thing to note is the fact that the Calgary Flames offered Brad Richards a deal for 9 years, $65 million. Don’t feel bad Brad, we wouldn’t want to play in Calgary either.

Now that Richards is off the market the top free agent left available is goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Dale Tallon stated yesterday in a press conference that the Panthers made multiple offers to Vokoun but he overvalued himself, causing Florida to cut ties with him after four years. It will be interesting to see where the former Panthers netminder ends up, especially since there are not a lot of teams in the market for an expensive starting goaltender.

NHL Free Agency – Day 1 (Live Blog)

It’s finally National Hockey League free agency day! All thirty NHL General Managers will be looking to add players to their clubs to help them improve in the 2011-2012 season. Sunshine State Hockey will be live blogging all of the rumors, trades, and signings today from 12:00 PM EST to 5 PM EST.

11:42 AM – It looks like the party has already started so we might as well get the live blogging going. There are a couple re-signings/signings to report before noon.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed James Wisniewski to a six year deal worth $33 million.

The Minnesota Wild have re-signed Josh Harding to a 1 year contract for $750,000, so scratch him off the Panthers list.

Detroit re-signs both Patrick Eaves and Jonathan Ericsson to three year contracts.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have withdrawn their contract offer to Jaromir Jagr.

We will be back in twenty minutes for the official start of free agency.

12:02 PM – The free agent market is officially open. Here we go folks. Also worth mentioning that the Canucks re-signed Salo and Higgins before the market opened.

12:04 PM – Penguins have re-signed Tyler Kennedy to a 2 year, $2 million deal.

12:08 PM – We don’t see Brad Richards agreeing to a deal today, especially since GM’s are actually lining up to talk to him. It’s being reported that Detroit is out of the Jagr sweepstakes.

12:24 PM – Someone from the Denver post reported on Twitter moments ago that Colorado has contacted the Tomas Vokoun camp.

12:27 PM – Detroit re-signs Drew Miller to a 2 year deal.

12:38 PM – Devils hold on to Andy Greene by re-signing him to a four year contract.

12:43 PM – Tampa Bay has signed UFA goalie Mathieu Garon to a two year deal and agreed to an entry level contract with Brett Connolly.

12:51 PM – Two tough guys off the market. Chicago signs Jamal Mayers and Edmonton signs Ben Eager. One year contract for Mayers, three years for Eager.

12:53 PM – Florida Panthers have signed goalie Jose Theodore to a 2 year deal. This would make us think that the Panthers and Vokoun are finished.

1:06 PM – Dallas signs Adam Pardy for two years.

1:11 PM – The Florida Panthers have signed Scottie Upshall to a four year contract worth $14 million.

1:20 PM – The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Jaromir Jagr.

1:25 PM – Some minor signings to announce. The Blues re-sign Matt D’Agostini to a two year deal. Phoenix signs Mike Smith, Boyd Gordon, and Raffi Torres. Washington signs Jeff Halpern to a one year deal.

1:32 PM – The Stars sign former Panther Radek Dvorak to a one year contract worth $1.5 million while Jan Hejda joins Colorado for four years.

1:34 PM – The Jagr to Philadelphia deal is for one year, $3.3 million. That’s a bit expensive for someone at the end of his career.

1:35 PM – Panthers bring back former Cat D-man Ed Jovanovski for four years, $16.5 million. 1:47 PM – The Panthers have made one of the biggest splashes in the free agent market during day 1 by signing Jose Theodore, Scottie Upshall, and Ed Jovanovski.

1:50 PM – Blackhawks sign forward Andrew Brunette.

1:54 PM – The Ed Jovanovski contract breaks down like this: $4M, $4.25M, $4.25M, $4M. 1:57 PM – Florida Panthers sign Marcel Goc to a three year contract.

2:02 PM – It seems we have our first trade of the day. The Washington Capitals have traded goalie Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche for a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick in either 2012 or 2013.

2:07 PM – A lot of people are wondering what’s going to happen to Tomas Vokoun. Some say Florida still might be in the mix, but we doubt that.

2:08 PM – Marcel Goc’s contract is three years, $1.73 million each year.

2:18 PM – This one got lost in the frenzy. The Flyers signed former Panthers D-man Andreas Lilja.

2:21 PM – The three biggest names on the market are still available even after all these signings. Brad Richards, Tomas Vokoun, and Tomas Kaberle all still looking for places to call home.

2:26 PM – Radim Vrbata re-signs with the Coyotes for $9 million over three years.

2:31 PM – Max Talbot signs with the Philadelphia Flyers. With Jagr and Talbot choosing Philly over Pittsburgh the rivalry gets a little more heated.

2:34 PM – Reports claim that the Colorado Avalanche have signed Semyon Varlamov to a two year deal worth $5.5 million. The contract for Max Talbot in Philly is five years, $9 million.

2:37 PM – Only 8 of the top 30 free agents ranked by the Fourth Period have been signed.

2:38 PM – The Winnipeg Jets make their first signing of the day and it’s hometown boy Derek Meech. The contract is a two way deal for one year.

2:48 PM – Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Brian Boucher for two years at $1.9 million.

2:52 PM – Peter Budaj signs with Montreal for two years.

3:00 PM – Rangers sign Mike Rupp to a three year deal worth $4.5 million.

3:06 PM – Red Wings sign Mike Commodore.

3:11 PM – We are taking a ten minute break. Hopefully nothing crazy happens while we are gone.

3:27 PM – We’re back with some updates. Steve Sullivan signs a one year deal with the Penguins. New York Islanders sign Marty Reasoner to a two year deal. Washington locks up Joel Ward and Roman Hamrlik. Ward for four years, Hamrlik for two.

3:34 PM – Erik Cole has signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The deal is for four years at $18 million.

3:37 PM – Edmonton signs Darcy Hordichuk and Cam Barker. Alex Auld signs with the Ottawa Senators for one year. Two former Panthers netminders working together in Ottawa.

3:44 PM – New Panthers: Ed Jovanovski, Marcel Goc, Scottie Upshall, Jose Theodore. Panthers leaving Sunrise: Darcy Hordichuk, Marty Reasoner, (Tomas Vokoun?).

4:00 PM – The Florida Panthers have acquired Kris Versteeg from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 2nd round pick in either the 2012 draft or the 2013 draft and a 3rd round pick.

4:10 PM – Edmonton trades Kurtis Foster to the Ducks for Andy Sutton.

4:12 PM – The Buffalo Sabres have signed Ville Leino to a six year deal worth $27 million.

4:18 PM – Another signing that slipped through. The Boston Bruins have signed Benoit Pouliot to a one year deal.

4:20 PM – Marco Sturm signs with the Vancouver Canucks for one year, $2.2 million. A bit overpaid for Mr. Sturm’s services.

4:22 PM – Hurricanes sign forward Alexei Ponikarovsky.

4:25 PM – The league is taking notice that the Florida Panthers mean business. This tweet just came in from Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan:

“Anybody feel like FLA is winning the race today? Tons of action! Some good pickups too.”

4:34 PM – Sheldon Souray has signed with the Dallas Stars for one year.

4:35 PM – San Jose realizes it’s the first day of free agency and signs Jim Vandermeer to a one year deal.

4:40 PM – 20 minutes until our live coverage of day one comes to an end. It’s been fun.

5:00 PM – Last deal of the day to end our live coverage on is one for the Florida Panthers. The Cats have signed Tomas Fleischmann to a four year deal worth $18 million.

A big thanks to everyone who joined Sunshine State Hockey for our live coverage of the first day of free agency. As soon as we hear any more news about the Florida Panthers, Brad Richards, Tomas Vokoun, or any other top free agents we will publish it.