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Panthers Week that Was 2nd Edition


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Week that Was (6/17/07-6/23/07) Welcome to the second edition of the "The Week that Was," the blog's weekly recap of Panthers action. Each and every we will give a summary and analysis of the previous weeks events.


Summary of Moves

This week started out with the anticipation of the NHL draft. Most everyone believed the NHL draft would be a repeat of last year's big trades. On June 18th, George Richards speculated in his blog that the Panthers might be talking with the Nashville Predators about their two goalies, Tomas Vokoun and Chris Mason, because of the speculation of a fire sale starting in Nashville. Fire Sale! George Richards, On Frozen Pond


On June 21st, the Nathan Horton story that we broke to you last week (Panthers Offer Horton 6-year Deal?) came to be. Around noontime, Bob Mckenzie of TSN, broke the big story; Nathan Horton signed a contract worth $24 million over 6 years with a No-Trade clause in the last three years. Panthers, Horton agree on six-year deal Panthers fans across the nation rejoiced that in the team was finally heading in the right direction after 7 years of mismanagement!


Minor news also occurred on June 21st. The team announced that George Kingston would not be retained as an assistant coach. In addition, the team also announced that team video coach, Pierre Groulx, would replace Phil Myre as goaltending coach as Myre went to full-time scouting duties. A final note is Jack Birch (Mike Keenan's right hand man) and Matt Loughran (director of hockey administration for the team) are not likely returning, along with long time Stanley C. Panther man-inside-the-costume (remains anonymous) being fired. (source: Big Doins in Pantherland, George Richards, On Frozen Pond)


In the above link, George Richards reported that the Panthers began contract negotiations with Stephen Weiss on a long-term contract.


June 22nd arrived with the anticipation of draft day. The Panthers were rumored all over the place to be in the hunt for a goaltender. One of the possible trade targets, Vesa Toskala, went to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a trade. The Panthers trade targets were dwindling. At about 5:00, the news leaked out that the Panthers had made a blockbuster trade for Tomas Vokoun of the Nashville Predators. (A New Goalie;

Panthers trade draft picks for goalie Tomas Vokoun; Panthers trade for Predators' Vokoun)


Later that day, the Panthers selected at number 10, defense man Keaton Ellerby. On June 23rd, the Panthers finished the draft with several forwards and defense man and one goaltender. You can read about the draft, with my analysis, here.


Analysis of Moves

Nathan Horton signs 6-year deal: The former 3rd overall pick in the 2003 draft, had a tremendous third season in the league this year with 31 goals and 31 assists at a plus-15 rating. Each and every year he has improved his goal totals (14->28->31), his assist totals (8->19->31) and his plus-minus totals (-5->+8->+15). Mind you, he is only 22 and hasn't even reached his prime yet! This is easily the smartest contract in hockey right now. Not only is Horton a proven 30-goal scorer, he is also a player who has the talent and the wrist shot to score over 50 goals. And at four million dollars per year against the cap, it makes a lot of GMs look stupid (see Paul Holmgren signed Scott Hartnell, who has 30 goal potential, to a six-year deal paying him MORE than Nathan Horton). Best contract ever signed in the history of the Franchise by far. With Horton's newfound maturity (Thank you Olli!), he may even break the 40 goal mark next season! All I can say is: Jacques Martin...I love you! No, really, I do!


Trade Draft Picks for Tomas Vokoun: The Panthers have a history of making draft day deals and blockbusters at that. Almost one year to the day of the Roberto Luongo trade, the Panthers rectify the biggest mistake in franchise history with a goal tender who is young at 30 and can easily reach the elite level (already a top7, top 8 goalie in the league) this year. He is a tremendous player and Panthers fans will love to see his lightning quick glove and competitive style in net! The best part of this trade: The excitement of Panthers fans is returning. This team is finally headed in a direction, and that is what is more important than anything. There is a tangible plan in place. And a team that was once the laughingstock of the league, is quickly becoming legitimate and racking in the praise from around the league for the job Jacques Martin is doing.


This next week should be filled with rumors of Free Agents. In fact, here is rumors from George Richard from today, June 24: Todd White, Slava Kozlov, and Victor Kozlov to be pursued. The next Week that Was will come earlier than usual due to the fact that Free Agency starts next Sunday. I can't wait to see what happens!


Panthers Daily Puck



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