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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 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
 
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