The injury cost Bradley the final 24 games of the regular season and all of Florida’s seven opening-round playoff games against New Jersey.
In June, the Panthers put Bradley on unconditional waivers and later bought out the final year of his contract ($950,000 cap hit.) According to CapGeek, the buyout saved the Panthers $333,333 in salary.
Bradley is a 11-year NHL veteran with nearly 700 games on his resume (and 47 playoff games). His best season came with Washington in 2009-10, when he scored 10G-14A-24PTS in 77 games for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals.
Of note, the Finnish second division has teams called KooKoo and TuTo. It’s probably the greatest league in the world.
The Florida Panthers have placed forward Matt Bradley on unconditional waivers with the intention of buying him out.
The 34-year-old has one season left on his contract ($950,000 cap hit). According to CapGeek, the buyout will save the Panthers $333,333 in salary. His cap hit will be $283,333 in 2012-13 and $333,333 in 2013-14.
Bradley scored three times with five assists in 45 games last season.
Friday April 13 in Florida @ 7 p.m. (NHL Network, TSN)
Sunday April 15 in Florida @ 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, TSN)
Tuesday April 17 in New Jersey @ 7 p.m. (NHL Network, TSN)
Thursday April 19 in New Jersey @ 7 p.m. (NHL Network, TSN)
*Saturday April 21 in Florida @ 6:30 p.m. (NHL Network, TSN)
*Tuesday April 24 in New Jersey @ TBD (TBD)
*Thursday April 26 in Florida @ TBD (TBD)
Three storylines to follow
1. Goalie questions. Neither team can feel 100 percent comfortable in net. For better or worse, Martin Brodeur is essentially grandfathered into the New Jersey goal while the Panthers might be better off going with Brodeur’s former backup in Scott Clemmensen rather than Jose Theodore. Either way, the goaltending doesn’t look to be a beauty contest.
2. Jersey’s stars. The Devils have the star power category locked up but, aside from Patrik Elias, haven’t thrived in the big time. Ilya Kovalchuk’s single career playoff win — game, not series — is pretty well-publicized and Zach Parise’s future remains in question, so there are a lot of moving parts for a team that admittedly looks much better on paper.
3. House money? The Panthers head into the playoffs in a rare spot. They’re the third seed, yet almost certainly the underdogs. They’ve already done more than people expected by a) making the playoffs and b) winning the Southeast. Playing with house money and home ice advantage? Not too shabby.
Florida: 38-26-18, 94 points (1st in Southeast; 3rd in Eastern Confrence) | New Jersey: 48-28-6, 102 points (4th in Atlantic; 6th in Eastern Conference)
Florida: Tomas Fleischmann (27G-31A-61PTS) | New Jersey: Ilya Kovalchuk (37G-46A-83PTS)
Florida: Jose Theodore (22-16-11, 2.46 GAA) or Scott Clemmensen (14-6-6, 2.57 GAA) | New Jersey: Martin Brodeur (31-21-4, 2.41 GAA)
Season series tied at 2-2
Nov. 21: At Florida 4, New Jersey 3
Dec. 13: New Jersey 3, at Florida 2, SO
Jan. 6: At New Jersey 5, Florida 2
Feb. 11: Florida 3, at New Jersey 1
Last 10 games
Florida: 2-3-5 | New Jersey: 7-2-1
New Jersey leads 1-0 (4-0 in 2000 Eastern Conference quarterfinals)
Florida: Did not qualify | New Jersey: Did not qualify
Florida: None | New Jersey: 3 (1995, 2000, 2003)
Florida: Jack Skille (shoulder) and Matt Bradley (concussion).
New Jersey: David Clarkson (lower-body), Jacob Josefson (wrist) and Henrik Tallinder (leg).
We have a trade to announce: Florida acquires Jerred Smithson from Nashville
“Jerred is a hard working, responsible, veteran player who plays well at both ends of the ice,” Tallon said. “He is a very good penalty killer, who has consistently ranked among his team’s leaders in face-off win percentage.”
Smithson, 33, has spent the majority of his career with the Predators, playing at least 64 games a year since the lockout. He’s a 6-foot-3, 210-pound checking forward with single-season highs of nine goals (2009-10) and 16 points (2007-08) and a fair bit of playoff experience (31 games).
He’s also sixth all time in games played for Nashville, which is…something.
It’s possible Smithson could jump right into Florida’s bottom six and get a chance to establish himself with John Madden (foot), Matt Bradley (concussion) and Marcel Goc (lower body) all on the limp.
Angry Caps speak out on Bourque-Backstrom incident
Alex Ovechkin: “It was head shot. It was kind of on purpose. I tell the referee, ‘He goes like straight in the face with an elbow. So why give him only two minutes?’”
John Erskine: “If I had got a chance to get on the ice I would have said something to [Bourque]. It’s a tough call, you want to do something but you don’t want to get sucked in and take a penalty because right now every two points is huge for us.””
Erskine’s comments are intriguing. While the Capitals are hardly pacifists — Erskine and Matt Hendricks have eight combined scraps this year — they have gradually removed some of the tough-guy element from their roster. Matt Bradley and DJ King were jettisoned in favor of more versatile skaters while Erskine’s been in and out of the lineup.
An understandable move, but there’s always the Buffalo Sabres Conundrum to consider. Every team knows what Buffalo learned earlier this season: Not sticking up for your stars is equally damaging, if not more, than sticking up for them. Erskine wasn’t able to get after Bourque because he was bolted to the bench — he didn’t play the final 16:28 against Calgary — but you get the sense he was ready to find Bourque had coach Dale Hunter sent him over the boards. (Of note, Hendricks only took three shifts in the third.)
So, the question: Do Erskine’s words compensate for a lack of action? Intentions are great but at the end of the day Bourque didn’t have to answer the bell and the Caps might be without their leading scorer for a while. That’s something veteran winger Mike Knuble was very aware of.
“[Backstrom’s] probably been, with a team that’s been inconsistent he’s been consistent,” Knuble said. “He’s been our most consistent player and plays in any situation and he’s very valuable to us. I don’t know if he’s going to miss time or whatever but it’s a big hole if he does.”
UPDATE: Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times has more angry Caps reactions, including Jay Beagle calling it a cheap shot and ex-Bourque teammate Troy Brouwer saying “he’s [Boruque’s] got that little bit of an attitude to him.”