Fleeing Florida?

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Panthers blueliner Jay Bouwmeester reportedly rejected a long-term offer from the Panthers thought to be worth around $6 million per season before signing his one-year deal Monday.

He’s reportedly seeking a contract similar to Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf, who earns $6.5 million per season over the next five years.

Some reports said Bowmeester isn’t happy with the current state of the Panthers and with his eligibility for unrestricted free agency next summer could command considerably more money on the open market.

GM Jacques Martin repeatedly rejected reports claiming the Panthers would shop Bouwmeester if they were unable to get his name on a long-term deal, but they could have little choice by February to start shopping him rather than losing him for nothing next summer.

Ottawa Senators forward Antoine Vermette and Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula are slated for salary arbitration hearings this week, the outcomes of which could determine the length of their tenures with their current teams.

Vermette’s hearing is set for July 31st and Filppula’s for August 1st.

Of the two, Filppula stands the best chance to avoid arbitration. Red Wings GM Ken Holland has had continuing discussions with Filppula’s agent and, as of last week, remained confident a deal could get done before the hearing.

It’s a different story for Vermette, however, as reports Ottawa suggest the two are certain to go to arbitration.

Vermette remains a hot topic of trade rumors. The Ottawa Sun reported he could be peddled to the Vancouver Canucks for former Senators defenseman Sami Salo, but given Salo’s no-trade clause that deal appears unlikely.

Apparently the problem for Senators GM Bryan Murray is fitting Vermette’s new contract (which could be around $3 million) and defenseman Andrej Meszaros’s under his salary cap while still making room for a puck-moving blueliner and a scoring winger for the second line.

Should Vermette be awarded a raise from the arbiter for next season, it remains to be seen if Murray will move him. Although, despite unsupported rumors claiming the winger wants out, it’s possible he and his agent could attempt to work out an extension with Murray in the new year.

If there’s a chance something can be worked out, Murray could retain Vermette and consider other options.

Perhaps former Boston Bruins winger Glen Murray might fit the Senators need for a second line winger.

Murray was recently waived and bought out of the remaining season on his contract (worth $4.15 million) by the Bruins at two-thirds the remaining value (roughly $2.76 million) and may be willing to consider a one-year deal worth between $1.5 and $2 million.

That could make him an affordable signing for the Senators or other clubs in need of an experienced winger

Murray, however, isn’t the same player he was in his 44-goal, 92-point season in 2002-03 as age and injury has led to a significant decline in his production. Last season he managed only 17 goals and 30 points in 63 regular season games and no points in seven playoff games.

Still, a GM desperate for offensive depth could give Murray a shot. If he can manage 20 to 25 goals and 40 points or so, he would be a worthwhile pickup at an affordable price.

Another affordable veteran option is Brendan Shanahan, who is reportedly interested in returning for one more NHL season.

Shanahan remains hopeful of re-signing with the New York Rangers, where he played the past two seasons, but a recent report on CNNSI.com claimed he’d consider offers from other teams if the Rangers are out of the picture.

His 23 goals and 46 points last season were marginally better than Murray’s regular season numbers, but Shanahan also had five points in 10 post-season games. Shanahan is still a well-respected player despite his age and declining production, so he could attract considerable attention around the league.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.



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