Panthers and Gudbranson part ways - for now

SUNRISE FL - OCTOBER 1: Erik Gudbranson #44 of the Florida Panthers warms up prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning during a preseason game on October 1 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

As has been widely reported, Panthers rookie Erik Gudbranson - the only member of Florida's training camp to play in all six exhibition matches - has declined the terms of an entry-level contract (ELC) offer from the club. He will thus return to the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs (who wasted zero time inserting him into their online roster), playing alongside brother Alex and fellow Florida prospect Corey Durocher.

Big E's preseason numbers:  6gp   1g   1a   2p   4-   17pim  9sog

On Frozen Pond's GR relates the primary stumbling block as one of details:

"The key hangup for getting a deal done was the amount of money the Panthers were willing to pay Gudbranson in performance bonuses. As a young player signing an entry level contract, Gudbranson's base pay and signing bonus weren't going to be extravagant numbers. The performance bonuses, however, could bring his salary into the millions."

Potentially expensive details, indeed. That is, of course, the cost of doing business in today's NHL when dealing with a remarkably high draft choice. Florida retains Gudbranson's rights for another two years and believing he won't be under contract even twelve months from now is unconscionable. They'll get it done.

Regardless, screams of horror will echo through the halls of BankAtlantic Center, claiming GM Dale Tallon flubbed this in a magnificent way by not signing the 18 year-old at any cost, claim the Cats are being monumentally cheap, present Dmitry Kulikov's early success as proof Gudbranson can hack it, etc.

(On the above "cheap" comment...they're going to the cap floor. Once those bloated contracts are either dealt and/or expire, it's Begin Anew time, as the REAL rebuild kicks off; bank on it.)

Still, such a situation can elicit a number of opinions from many circles of Panthers fandom, most importantly at this hour the following two: either The Cats blew it again or Let the management team do its job. What say you?

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