Panthers Waive Mike Santorelli and Enforcer Matt Bradley

SUNRISE, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Matt Bradley #22 of the Florida Panthers attempts to sweep the puck in front of the goaltender Jeremy Smith #30 of the Nashville Predators on September 19, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Here's one straight out of left field:

This sort of roster move seems incredibly surprising as these two players both brought more to the table than their other 'fifth line' counterparts. Mike Santorelli, though often relegated to the pressbox, was only a year removed from a twenty goal breakout campaign and was given inconsistent ice time in his recent 9 goal season. Matt Bradley fit a niche in the Panthers lineup as a utility/enforcer player who was second on the Panthers in hits despite only playing 45 games. Bradley was a Tallon signing from the 2011 free agent class, many believed he'd help Dineen with his leadership. In the end, I guess Dale didn't need more Bradley after all.

Come on down after the jump.

Roberto Luongo, here we come! It seems to be the common denominator in analysis of these moves, that the Panthers are looking to free up some money to absorb Bobby Lou's massive contract. I'm not sure how cutting out 1.6 million Santorelli or 950K Bradley accomplishes much, especially when a certain 36 year old defenseman sits on the third string and already looks out mentored by his mentor. Or, well, Tomas Kopecky and his 9 million still needing to be paid. It seems there would be better options if the management wanted to save some cash.

The other theory is the move opens up space for rookies not named Jonathan Huberdeau. Nick Bjugstad has yet to commit to another year at Minnesota while other upper level prospects like Drew Shore and Quinton Howden finished the season in San Antonio. If this would be the case, I'd hope Tallon knows to bring in some more leadership before ushering in more than one rookie next season.

Whatever the plan, the line combinations as of today look a little something like this(UFA losses accounted for):

Tomas Fleischmann-Stephen Weiss-Kris Versteeg

Sean Bergenhiem-Marcel Goc-Scottie Upshall

Tomas Kopecky-Shawn Matthias-Jack Skille

???-Jerred Smithson-???

Brian Campbell-???

Mike Weaver-Dmitry Kulikov

Ed Jovanovski-Erik Gudbranson

(Tyson Strachan/Keaton Ellerby)

Jose Theodore

Roberto Luongo ???

Fare thee well boys!


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