At the trade deadline, we gave the Florida Panthers a "GRADE: B, with a dash of Incomplete" for basically holding on to all-star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester rather than dealing the pending UFA in a playoff race. Since then, the Panthers have struggled, going 1-3-2 in their last six. Bouwmeester's been pretty bad in that stretch too, going minus-3 with just one assist.
Does that mean the Panthers should "ask for a do-over" or second-guess themselves about their decision at the deadline at this point?
Not when the team is three points out of the postseason with 12 games to go, including a few against the teams they're chasing. And not when Bouwmeester's future as a free agent, in uncertain economic times, is anything but predictable. We're all for Jacques Martin looking like a goofball as a general manager, but it's only fair to see if this gamble pays off.
If it does, and the Panthers make the postseason, they're considered one of the top spoilers in CBC Sports' Jim Hughson's blog about playoff dark horses. The Panthers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Dallas Stars are all mentioned as teams to avoid in the first round; there's still a chance at least two of those teams won't even make the cut, of course.
On the Puck Daddy/TFP Podcast today at 12:30 p.m. EST, yours truly and David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period will discuss the playoff bubbles and some of the dark horses. You can call in with questions at 646-929-1165 and listen live or later with the player below.