Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What the Panthers Have

The Panthers are in the middle of the trade wind storm that is blowing through the NHL, now a week before the trade deadline and I was awfully curious to see how the team is looking for next season, now that we're talking about seeing Jay Bouwmeester head out the door.

As of Wednesday morning, the Panthers sit tightly in seventh spot in the East, well in the mix for the playoffs, tied with Buffalo with 68 points this year, one point up on ninth and one point behind the Rangers in sixth. The results of these games can really sway the standings these days and a trade would have to be rather beneficial to the Panthers before they consider to move Bouwmeester.

Now, you have to believe that Bouwmeester will not be in a Panthers uniform next season, which should beg the question, how do the Panthers look heading into the summer, right now? Well, let me show you.

Stephen WeissBryan McCabeTomas Vokoun
Nathan HortonKeith Ballard
Cory StillmanBryan Allen
Michael Frolik
Gregory Campbell
Kamil Kreps
Brett McLean
Rostislav Olesz
Nick Tarnasky
Shawn Matthias
Wade Belak

The team does have a good base of players sitting with a contract already, 15 to be exact, and they come at a fairly reasonable cost, $38.1 million against the cap. They have plenty of cap space available to them going into the summer.

First things first, they will have to run down some of their better restricted free agents, like David Booth and Anthony Stewart. Next, there will have to be some decisions made for some of their other unrestricted free agents that may not have gotten away at the deadline, like Craig Anderson, Radek Dvorak, Richard Zednik and Nick Boynton. There is a good chance that the team will have to spend some money this next year to keep themselves in the hunt, but there is an even better chance that they'll have enough room for a decent payroll.

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