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Goldie's Blog: Ruslan Salei

Sunday, 07.2.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / 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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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