Monday, July 28, 2008

Panthers Announce Bouwmeester Signing

Of course he does! Why the hell not?

Just an hour or so after finishing the Quiet Monday Rumours post, which I elaborate on some rumours that Jay Bouwmeester will be traded away from Florida this week, he goes ahead and signs a 1-year deal ahead of his arbitration hearing. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed with the press release, but we could speculate that the deal is likely worth $4 to $6 million for the year, which could be said as fair market value.

Bouwmeester, 24, was the 24th ranked defenseman in 2008, scoring 15 goals and adding 22 assists in all 82 games for the Panthers. His most remarkable statistic was that he led the league in ice-time at over 27 minutes played per game.

Cory StillmanJay BouwmeesterTomas Vokoun
Nathan HortonKeith BallardCraig Anderson
Stephen WeissCory Murphy
David BoothBryan Allen
Brett McLeanNick Boynton
Richard ZednikKarlis Skrastins
Rostislav OleszMike Van Ryn
Kamil KrepsWade Belak
Josef Stumpel
Ville Peltonen
Gregory Campbell
Chad Kilger
Radek Dvorak

Before Bouwmeester's signing, the Panthers had 21 players signed on for the coming season at a salary cap hit of $44 million, which should now skyrocket towards $50 million with this new signing. The Panthers also have some quality young talent on the cusp of taking some of the open spots in the line-up, which could sure up the team at a minimum price. Shawn Matthias, Anthony Stewart, Michael Frolik, Keaton Ellerby, Kendall McArdle and Michael Repik lead the charge.

Of course this Bouwmeester signing doesn't mean the end of the speculation about his playing future in Miami. This deal could likely put a monetary value on a deal and/or keep away certain suitors, if the deal has an expensive price tag. There is a good chance that the Panthers will dangle Bouwmeester through the season and try to get the best deal out there, while they try and remove the bad taste of the Roberto Luongo deal from their club history. If teams want the blueliner that badly, they will have to pay through the nose and the Panthers now hold all the cards again with this new deal. Well, the cards will expire next July, but they hold a significant value until then.

As for pool value, Bouwmeester doesn't climb the ranks any today. It could be argued that he can increase his value with experience and nearing his prime, but he is still playing for the Panthers going into October and they haven't done much to increase their scoring production this summer. In actual fact, with the loss of Olli Jokinen, they've done more to hinder it than improve it. Since the Cats aren't in the Sundin race, there isn't much they can do to help themselves out, except deal Bouwmeester for some quality scoring talent. They have already added Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton to the blueline mix, so they won't be too short of talent there if they do deal him.

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