Jay Bouwmeester is a smart guy. He took a one-year contract from the Panthers and less money than he might have received in arbitration just to get his contract signed and behind him.
The Miami Herald’s George Richards is calling this as a good thing for the Panthers. Avoiding arbitration puts everyone in a better state of mind to maybe get something longterm done. Richards also says Bouwmeester wants to see how the Panthers are playing before he signs a longer contract with the team.
So why is Bouwmeester smart? First, he kept the door open to stay in Florida, if they somehow become a decent team. But if they don’t, it’s only a one-year deal. But then, he did something really clever. He took less money, which now makes him tradeable in terms of talent AND salary. By the time the February trade deadline rolls around, his prorated contract will be an amazing bargain and a ticket out of Florida.
Also, Matthew Barnaby as ESPN’s hockey analyst? Honestly, it’s not rocket science to talk hockey on TV for 90 seconds at a time. I’m sure he would be fine. But I would love if Barnaby was more of a roving correspondent, interviewing players and coaches around the league. Because people really seem to love Matthew Barnaby. Not players he played against so much, but teammates and ex-teammates. But Barnaby could become the Oprah of the NHL.
I don’t know if ESPN has a travel budget for their hockey coverage, though.