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Goldie's Blog: Ruslan Salei

Sunday, 07.02.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Goldie\'s Blog: Ruslan Salei

The Panthers struck Sunday signing free agent defenseman Ruslan Salei from Anaheim. The former first round pick has played his whole career with the Ducks and is a hard nosed, hard hitting player. Look for him to pair up with Jay Bouwmeester. With Salei and newly acquired Bryan Allen the blueline is solid and now has a element of toughness. Both new players will clear the front of the net, lay big open ice hits and perhaps most importantly allow Bouwmeester and Mike Van Ryn to have some offensive freedom. Panther fans have been calling for the defense to get bigger and tougher and the phone has now been answered.

Salei, 31 years old, was a key part of Anaheim's run to game seven of the cup finals against the Devils a few years ago and was a big factor in the Ducks reaching the conference finals this past spring before losing to Edmonton. While Salei doesn't have the star name power of Jovanovski or Chara he is a strong player, literally and figuratively, and is a good team guy. He will have a positive influence on the entire defense corps. Bouwmeester in particular could really break out this year knowing his back is covered by a tough veteran who knows his defensive responsibilities.

The salaries of the free agent defensemen was out of this world over the weekend with many players, like Pavel Kubina and Jay McKee getting more than they even thought they'd get. With a salary cap and young players that will need to be paid in the next few seasons, the Panthers showed good discipline by not overpaying a big name. Losing a Nathan Horton or Stephen Weiss a couple of years from now because of overspending in free agency now would have been a mistake. Here's how the Panthers blueline looks as of today:

Bouwmeester - Salei
Van Ryn - Allen
Mezei - Kwiatkowski/Semenov/Montador/Jackman

The 6th d-man and extra players are still to be determined but this group is in much better shape than this time last year. it's as deep as the team has been on defense in a long time. Until next time...

Goldie

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 44 15 12 1 27
J. Huberdeau 41 8 17 1 25
A. Ekblad 44 6 19 7 25
J. Jokinen 43 4 20 0 24
J. Hayes 36 13 7 1 20
B. Boyes 42 9 11 1 20
S. Bergenheim 33 7 9 4 16
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
D. Kulikov 39 1 12 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 17 10 8 .923 2.32
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .887 3.09
 
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