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PALM BEACH POST/MIAMI HERALD: both reported on the Florida Panthers plans to shop for a starting goalie. Brian Biggane of the Post reports potential trade options for the Panthers include Minnesota's Manny Fernandez, San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov or Vesa Toskala, Anaheim's Ilya Bryzgalov and Colorado's Jose Theodore while UFA options beside JS Giguere include LA's Mathieu Garon, Phoenix's Curtis Joseph and Edmonton's Jussi Markkanen


Barry Jackson of the Herald reports there's a decent chance the Panthers could re-sign Ed Belfour but the team would like to explore other options first, such as perhaps making a pitch for Giguere or consider a trade with San Jose for either Nabokov or Toskala. The Panthers apparently prefer Belfour over Fernandez or Joseph. Jackson also claims the Panthers will set their sights on second and third tier UFA forwards like Scott Walker, Todd White, Scott Hartnell and former Panther Viktor Kozlov. They're interested in Atlanta's Slava Kozlov but consider him too expensive.


OTTAWA CITIZEN: Hugh Adami reports Alexei Yashin's agent intends to contact Florida Panthers GM Jacques Martin to see if he'd like to be reunited with Yashin.


Spector's Note: It seems quite likely the Panthers will seek an upgrade between the pipes. Giguere will probably be too expensive, and I don't see Nabokov getting traded. Bryzgalov might be an option if Giguere re-signs with the Ducks, Toskala carries an affordable contract, while Garon and Joseph should also be affordable signings. I think the Oilers will re-sign Markkanen. As for Theodore I don't see anyone wishing to absorb his hefty salary. As for Yashin, I'll be shocked if Martin agreed to sign him, as Yashin's a headache the rebuilding Panthers clearly don't need.





Panthers assessing free agents




The Panthers have been formulating their offseason master plan and here's a peek, according to officials aware of their strategy:


? Instead of spending huge dollars on a marquee free agent such as Buffalo's Daniel Briere or Chris Drury, the Panthers' mind-set is to sign two second- or third-tier free agent forwards.


Free agents who interest Florida include Carolina's Scott Walker (21 goals, 30 assists last season), Minnesota's Todd White (13 goals, 31 assists) and Nashville's Scott Hartnell (22 goals, 17 assists).


The Panthers like Atlanta's Slava Kozlov (28 goals, 52 assists) but believe he might too expensive. Bringing back the Islanders' Viktor Kozlov (25 goals, 26 assists) also will be considered.


? Regarding goaltending, the Panthers have an interest in re-signing Ed Belfour (27-17-10, 2.77 goals-against average), and there's a decent chance that will happen. Management wasn't bothered by his request for a raise from $750,000 or his stated desire to remain a starter.


But before committing to Belfour, the Panthers will consider at least two other scenarios: 1) Free agent Jean Sebastien-Giguere (36-10-8, 2.26). The Panthers expect Anaheim will re-sign him and don't want to enter a bidding war. 2) Exploring a trade with San Jose for Evgeni Nabokov (25-16-4, 2.29) or Vesa Toskala (26-10-1, 2.35). Nabokov has the much larger contract.


Toskala and Giguere (both 30) and Nabokov (31) are much younger than Belfour, 42. But the Panthers prefer Belfour over Minnesota's Manny Fernandez, 32 (who asked to be traded) and Phoenix free agent Curtis Joseph, 40.







2 different articles on possible moves and whom they might look at for anyone to consider their thoughts.



Yashin on a 1 year contract maybe?

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Bring me Scott Hartnell! That kid will be the perfect complement to our core. He's only 25 and will just continue growing right along with the rest of the guys.



Also been reading that the Panthers might have an interest in Jason Blake.



I'd love if we got Toskala and resigned Eddie. That would make me more than happy. I also read that Byzgalov might go on the trading block if the Ducks resign Giggy. Would definitely love it if he was indeed on the block and we traded for him.

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