Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deadline Day: Live Blog

3:51 p.m.

Well, it looks as though Jay Bouwmeester will indeed remain in Sunrise, FL for the duration of the season. Florida did make one move today, though. It's not the Chris Neil trade, as was earlier rumored. The Panthers picked up Steve Eminger from Tampa Bay in exchange for Noah Welch and a 3rd round pick. Eminger has 4 G and 21 A for Tampa this year, and might be a sign of things to come with Nick Boynton. Welch has shown signs of potential for the Panthers, but in the end, he wasn't enough.

As for Bouwmeester, Florida "got their guy" by not trading Jay-Bo. The team's chemistry doesn't change, the makeup of this team isn't affected. In fact, one could argue that the Panthers, as a team, might feel that they came out a better team then they were at the start of the day. Keith Ballard sent a text to TSN analyst Darren Pang shortly after the 3:00 deadline passed; "Perfect." What this means for Florida in the long term is unknown. Bouwmeester has shown no signs of planning on signing with Florida, so you would have to expect him to pack his bags as a UFA on July 1st. But for the next 2 months, Jay is a Panther, and expect him to do nothing less then his best, hopefully pushing Florida deep into the postseason. The home stretch kicks off tomorrow night with a crucial game against the Penguins.

3:05 p.m.

The deadline has passed, and it looks like Bouwmeester is staying in south Florida for a few more months. Huge boost to the team. I can't imagine the positive vibes in the locker room, knowing they still have their guy. They didn't make a move and probably improved their team because of it. I'm heading home from work now, so anything that breaks over the next half hour, I'll get to later. Thanks for tuning in.

2:42 p.m.

Only 18 minutes to go and still no further word on a Chris Neil deal. Personally, I don't see a reason to make a move for Neil, unless it's for a low draft pick. Neil isn't a scorer (2 G, 4 A in 44 games), he isn't a center, he hasn't played in a month due to a calf injury. He's another Wade Belak. High energy, very physical, hands of stone, skates of lead. Still waiting to get further info...

2:27 p.m.

The Florida Panthers may have finally made a move. Ottawa's Chris Neil is rumored to be headed for south Florida. I'm still trying to find out for who. It's not Jay-Bo, but who....? Working on it...

2:11 p.m.

Apparently the price tag for Guerin was a draft pick, either a 5th or 3rd, depending on post season play. For a pick, Guerin could have fit in well in Florida. Gritty, tough guy, never afraid to muck out the ugly goals, and more importantly, a veteran center... Oh well. I guess JM has his mind on other things...

2:05 p.m.

Another aging vet has escaped the cellar and gone to a potential playoff team. Bill Guerin has gone from the Islanders to the Penguins. No word yet on what Pittsburgh sent back, but this adds a little size and grit to the Penguins scoring lines. Guerin is a guy who's been there and done that, probably a few times, and should help Pittsburgh make a push for the postseason. I can only imagine how excited he is to get off Long Island...

1:33 p.m.

Mark Recchi has escaped from Tampa Bay, heading to from bottom to top as the Boston Bruins exchanged 2 prospects for Recchi. Boston and Calgary have been the busiest two teams today, both looking to shore up their roster for a deep run. Recchi adds instant veteran leadership and Stanley Cup experience to the Bruins.

I've also heard unconfirmed reports that Toronto has dealt forward Dominic Moore to Chicago. Chicago is another team in the west that are trying to keep pace with the Flames, Sharks, and Red Wings. Panthers' fans remember the shut out that the Blackhawks dealt to the Cats not too long ago. They look good and could also be a contender in the west, although the top 3 teams will be hard to beat.

12:40 p.m.

Looks like Olli Jokinen and Mike Keenan will be reunited. The Flames picked up Olli for a couple youngsters and a draft pick. Calgary is looking pretty good to make a run in the west. Jokinen, Camilleri, and Iginla is a scary thought, and adding Leopold on the blue line makes the Flames a serious contender, no doubts. Olli will finally get a shot at the postseason. If he's able to mesh in this locker room (which has been a problem with Olli on previous teams), this team goes deep.

Boston acquired Steve Montador from Anaheim for Petteri Nokalainen. A move for Boston that adds another solid defender to their roster. They have been struggling the last couple games, but once the postseason hits, they will be a favorite in the east.

12:09 p.m.

Now we're cookin'! The Sabres picked up a goaltender to try to bridge the gap created by the injury to Ryan Miller. Mikael Tellqvist from Phoenix heads to Buffalo for a 4th round pick. The Sabres also signed Tim Connolly to an extension. Buffalo's had a good day, so far. It's just going to force Florida to keep playing well to stay ahead of the Sabres.

11:44 a.m.

Another small deal involving no one Florida is concerned with. Jordan Leopold is sent from Colorado to Calgary in exchange for 2 prospect defensemen and a draft pick. A solid defenseman heading to Calgary to bolster their blue line, they're looking for a deep run. The Flames are currently 3rd in the west.

11:33 a.m.

Slow start to the day, just the 1 deal to speak of. Things could pick up as the 3:00 p.m. ET deadline gets closer. On a personal note, I'm a little bit disappointed at the complete lack of attention today is getting from ESPN. Now, I didn't expect much, ESPN and the NHL aren't exactly closest of pals, but it's just a blip on the main page, I haven't seen any mention of it on the ESPN morning programming (Mike & Mike, First Take...). The only hockey related mention on television came when the return of Sean Avery to the Rangers was briefly discussed on First Take. Maybe deals being done will garner interest... but it's doubtful. I know the worldwide leader loves Manny, but don't you think "A-Rod Had Hip Stiffness Last Year" is a headline that could be pushed down a bit?

10:13 a.m.

A couple players thought to be trade bait might be off the market after all. Ottawa defenseman Filip Kuba just reached a new deal with the Senators, and Blues veteran Keith Tkachuk looks like he's sticking it out in St. Louis. The Blues are 4 points out of the playoffs in the western conference, but there are a multitude of teams jockeying for the final spot.

9:58 a.m.

First deal of the day, not involving the Panthers or any team the Panthers are interested in. Ottawa acquired G Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd round pick from Columbus in exchange for F Antoine Vermette. Looks like the Blue Jackets are going to ride rookie goalie Steve Mason all the way, and got a decent forward to boot. Vermette has just 9 goals and 19 assists this season, but is one of the better faceoff guys in the league.

9:16 a.m.

Off and running, perusing the rumor mills. No news yet, but be assured, if and when news breaks, I'll let you know what I think. Obviously, all the attention will be on Jay Bouwmeester. Most of the talk has been involving the Philadelphia Flyers. They have reportedly offered Joffrey Lupol and James vanRiemsdyk for J-Bo. I don't like this deal for a number of reasons. Lupol is a winger, something the Panthers aren't exactly in need of. They do need scoring, but preferably from the center position. Lupol's contract is awfuly pricey, on top of that. Also, vanRiemsdyk is a prospect. A young, talented prospect, to be sure, but Florida isn't looking to build it's future. The Cats want to win now. That deal probably, hopefully, won't be done. If the Flyers throw in a solid defenseman like Braydon Coburn or Matt Carle, it might be worth considering. But it looks like GM Martin doesn't see something that is an obvious, immediate upgrade yet. Bouwmeester could still be a Panther by days end. Stay tuned...

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