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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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 63 22 16 -8 38
J. Huberdeau 60 9 27 4 36
J. Jokinen 62 6 28 0 34
A. Ekblad 63 10 23 8 33
B. Boyes 61 11 21 9 32
J. Jagr 59 12 19 -9 31
J. Hayes 54 17 10 -5 27
B. Campbell 63 3 20 3 23
A. Barkov 52 10 12 -4 22
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
A. Montoya 5 6 2 .891 2.98
 
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