Panthers awash in cap space, not expected to make big free agent splash

daletallon1.jpgThe 2010 NHL free agency period is set to start at noon tomorrow and for a lot of teams, it’s a means to start fresh and forget about the previous season. For other teams, it offers the chance to correct problem areas that burned them in the playoffs and cost them a shot at the Stanley Cup. For teams like the Florida Panthers and new general manager Dale Tallon, it sometimes means having to play things close to the vest no matter how much salary cap space you’ve got to use as On Frozen Pond’s George Richards finds out.

“I don’t know how aggressive we’re going to be, but we’re going to try to get better and find players who make sense for us at this time,” said general manager Dale Tallon, whose team has 17 NHL regulars under contract for next season.


“I don’t think we’re going after the top guys, but good guys that can help us and not affect our future.”


The Panthers were about $7 million under the salary cap last season and are currently about $12 million under this year’s cap of $59.4 million. Florida still needs to sign a couple of its restricted free agents, but are said to have a budget under what was spent last season.

For a team that’s sorely needing quality depth, having $12 million to spend on getting it is a handsome luxury, of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll be going hog wild either.


“We’re going to look at everything and everyone,” Tallon said. “It’s important that we get better. A lot of guys are signed to long term deals so it’s harder to find that blue chip guy at the right price.”

Anyone thinking that Dale Tallon’s job in Florida was going to be a quick fix sort of thing was, of course, greatly mistaken. For what it’s worth, the Panthers do have a handful of good players in place right now with Stephen Weiss, David Booth, Dmitry Kulikov and their first round pick from the 2010 draft Erik Gudbranson. The Panthers will need more though, but luckily for them they’re in the Southeast Division where getting a few things to break your way can lead to making the playoffs.

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    Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby

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    Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

    That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

    Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

    “Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

    In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

    One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

    Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

    Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

    Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


    Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

    OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

    Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

    For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

    You can watch all three goals in the video above.

    It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

    Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

    John Tortorella

    Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

    Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

    You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

    (He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

    As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

    Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

    In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.


    Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’


    Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

    As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

    Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

    Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

    PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).