Decision time for the Florida Panthers

Panthers left winger Todd Bertuzzi who was part of a multiplayer, offseason trade to Florida from Vancouver,has been a major dissapointment as he has only appeared in 7 games this season while he recovers from back surgery. Bertuzzi is due back in a few weeks but a decision must be made on the impending free agent. The Panthers are 13th in the east with 38 points but they are only 6 pts out of the 8th seed with a slew of teams to jump ahead of. So will the Panthers try to re-sign Bertuzzi, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, or will they entertain offers? That’s an answer their own coach doesn’t have a answer to yet. “I just want to coach this team and we’ll worry about that at a later time,” Martin told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I discussed with his agent before the season that we would look at a long-term deal after the season.” When the newspaper asked Martin whether the team would entertain offers for Big Bert, the coach said he didn’t see it happening right now. “I don’t think that’s in the picture right now. We’re looking for Todd to get back healthy and help this team to get into the playoffs.”

The Edmonton Oilers are desperate for a puck moving defenseman since trading away Chris Pronger during the summer. According to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Oilers have shown interest in Flyers defenseman Joni Pitkanen. Sources close to both the Flyers and Oilers told the newspaper that Edmonton are offering up Raffi Torres and Joffrey Lupul. Eric Brewer has also been connected to the Oilers in recent weeks. Another issue the Oilers have is resigning franchise player Ryan Smith who will become a unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Smith is seeking a hometown discount to stay with the Oilers. (5 years – 25 million)

The New York Post is reporting the Rangers will go after Devils center Scott Gomez as a free agent this summer. The Devils are up against the cap since resigning stars Patrick Elias and Brian Gionta to multi year deals before the season. The Rangers came very close to signing Devils left winger Patrick Elias but he decided to return to New Jersey. Gomez will be a hot commodity this off-season with teams such as LA, Calgary, Colorado, and Atlanta expected to make a big push for the Devils center.

The Buzzontheburgh’s final word
The Panthers should just trade Bertuzzi at the deadline and hope to get a draft pick. The guy is finished. There is no way the Oilers are offering up Raffi Torres and Joffrey Lupul for Jani Pitkanen. That rumor came from www.hockeybuzz.com so don’t put to much into it. Expect the Rangers to not only go after Gomez this off-season but also Chris Drury or Daniel Briere. The Rangers are still lacking a top notch center to play with Jagr.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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