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Bouwmeester stays in Florida... for now

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Panthers and franchise defenseman Jay Bouwmeester avoided arbitration yesterday as he agreed to a one-year deal with the team believed to be worth $4.9 million.

This basically does one of two things.

1.) It buys the Panthers time to sign Bouwmeester to a long-term deal, something Bouwmeester doesn't want to do until he sees what direction the Panthers are heading. The Panthers haven't reached the playoffs since 2000 and have essentially been spinning their wheels since that time.

2.) It gives the Panthers chance to deal another franchise player for very little in return. Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen left sunny "F.L.A." under similar circumstances. The trades that sent them elsewhere netted very little for the Panthers. Bouwmeester could be dealt at next season's trade deadline.

One way or another, the Panthers need players like Bouwmeester on their roster if they ever hope to reach the playoffs again and ultimately contend for a Stanley Cup title. Considering there's a salary cap in place in the NHL now and that over half the teams in the league can make the playoffs (16 out of 30), there's no excuse for a team that drafts as high as the Panthers usually do to not make the playoffs.

(Photo: Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-The Staals are brothers and they like their softball.

(Kudos to a reader of The Sidney Crosby Show for the find.)

Northeast Division

-Despite not making the playoff last season, the Sabres are raising their ticket prices, sort of.

Southeast Division

-The Lighting is on the verge of signing first overall draft pick Steve Stamkos.

-The Capitals are expecting their season ticket base to grow by 5,000.

-Former Penguins forward Jaromir Jagr predicted Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin will reach the 70-goal mark next season.

 Central Division

-You weren't the only one surprised by Marian Hossa signing with the Red Wings. Ken Holland, Detroit's general manager, was too.

-Ohio State fans actually think the Blue Jackets get too much press from the Columbus media. In other news, another SEC team just romped Ohio State for the BCS title.

 

(Photo: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

Northwest Division

-A lot of talent has left the Northwest Division.

 Patrick Division

-Our friends at Illegal Curve have a new address (http://www.illegalcurve.com/) and a new look. Check it out.

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