Might as well start a thread...the Panthers have until 5pm today to sign seven RFA players who are otherwise eligible to go to arbitration. Let's see what the game plan is (apparently it's to go to arbitration to save cash and alienate 1/3 of the team).
Looking at our RFA's, we have to sign, uh...ALL OF THEM. This promises to be as interesting as any UFA activity. Look for Florida to pinch every penny possible (with the exception of Jokinen (team captain and Keenan lover) and Luongo (why the Panthers are a member of the NHL and not the UHL)).
Players that didn't file for arbitration are not under contract at all. Unless the team files for arbitration with the player (that deadline is today), they are simply holding out for a contract. Hopefully everyone will be signed by camp, but there are no guarantees.
Qualifying offers expire next Monday, on the 15th. Translation, at that time the Panthers can lowball all their RFAs to lower dollar figures and still retain their rights until at least December, when negotiations are mandated to be done or terminated and that player unable to play anywhere in the NHL.
Van Ryn is the closest to a deal. The team extended his $1.064 million qualifying offer until training camp and there is progress on a three-year deal. Jokinen is believed to be seeking about $4 million a year. Considering the Panthers didn't offer him even $3 million before the lockout, he could be headed toward a holdout. Todd Diamond, one of Jokinen's agents, said he's had one preliminary discussion with GM Mike Keenan. "They've indicated that he's an important part of the team and would like to do something long-term, but we haven't really started," Diamond said.
Keenan said he plans to focus on Jokinen. "I'd definitely like him to be in camp; and it behooves him to be in training camp, particularly in light of the fact that he's captain. But we have to do what's right for the team," Keenan said.
Bouwmeester had rejected the Panthers' qualifying offer of $945,630 and is seeking a multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract. "He has the possibility of a very good future, but he has a lot to prove yet, he's still a young player in the developmental stage of his career and we'll treat it as such. Players have to realize where they are in their own development," Keenan said.
Ah, so Jokinen does still have BOTH Todd Diamond AND Mark Gandler as his agents.