Joining the ranks of the Los Angeles Kings as teams to keep a close eye on next season, the Florida Panthers have signed last season’s playoff hero from Tampa Bay, forward Sean Bergenheim.
The fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning could not re-sign Bergenheim doesn’t come as a shock as they had to save some of their budgets for re-signing other players – mainly Steven Stamkos. Before the ‘Free Agent Frenzy’ season began, it was said that the Bolts had offered Bergenheim a deal, but it was refused by the 27-year-old and his agent.
Bergenheim scored only 14 goals in 80 games during the regular season with Tampa but it was his playoff performance of nine goals in 16 games that made waves. The Florida Panthers pounced (pun so totally intended) on Bergenheim once July 1 came about. The forward received a 4-year contract worth $11-million. Given what contracts Tampa Bay still hope to finalize, they could not afford a contract like that one.
Writer Adam Reid from Fansided’s The Rat Trick blog covers the Bergenheim deal in more detail and shares his thoughts on how Bergenheim will fit into the roster. You can read it HERE.
With players like Bergenheim and Gagne gone, the pressure is really coming down on the Bolts’ management now to get forward Steven Stamkos signed to a long-term deal. Not much has been said in the last couple of days and the tensions in Tampa Bay are growing. Let’s just hope that the Bolts don’t lose any fans to the Panthers because of this deal – especially when the St. Pete Times Forum needs to fill those seats next season to cover the cost of those hefty renovations!
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