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Free Agency, day one: Florida Panthers lock up Booth

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A most strange day when compared to previous free agency orgies: Not one team overspent, per season. A few years late, but the lockout finally affected managerial behavior in the NHL. The union's gotta be thrilled.

As expected, the Rangers busted it up by signing Marian Gaborik for a paltry five years ($7.5M per). The Canucks held on to their dynamic Sedin duo, and Montreal made huge waves by ignoring the cap and inking everyone available (short of Todd Bertuzzi).

The funky part is the money. Personally, I've never seen this type of mass-induced restraint by the league. There's always someone out there who's willing to blow up the cap system in order to get That One Guy. Jay Freaking Bouwmeester got less than $7M? Same for the Sedins? Two years ago they may have walked away after 20 minutes with far more than what was ultimately established today, but wow..."market value" is not what it was. Thank goodness. Didn't we all lose a season for that?


Back to the Panthers and their activities on this beautiful Wednesday (and Randy Sexton remains a FOTB):

WHAT WE GAINED

David Booth, F. Six years, $25M (or so). If this didn't happen, the Eastern Financial District would be an ash-heap by now. He's not only the top goal-scorer, but the new face of the franchise. As he rightfully should be. It's Booth!

Radek Dvorak, F. Two years, $2.4M. Two thirds of the top penalty-killing unit are now salvaged. Need another Ville.

Scott Clemmensen, G. 25-13-0-1. Enough for me. Been pulling for this guy - Brodeur's carryall - since November. With three years, he'll be the bridge between Vokoun and Markstrom.

Ville Koistinen, D. Two of the 27 year-old's three goals last season were game-winners. We like percentages here at The Box. Does he replace Skrastins, Boynton, Cullimore, or Leopold? Place your bets! Place your bets!

WHAT WE'VE LOST (SO FAR)

Craig Anderson, G. Off to the train wreck in Colorado. I speak for all Panther fans: We will miss you, Andy.

Jordan Leopold, D. Has not yet re-signed with Florida. Punk. "Bouwmeester" ring a bell? Ahh. Not his doing; he's looking for a new love, baby. A new love. Haven't really "lost" him, but so what. We like the third-rounder.

Much more fluff and un-asked-for opinion coming tomorrow. Gonna recharge and be back hard-core with analysis Thursday afternoon.

Huge thanks to all who joined us at The Box during today's free agent ridiculousness. We did good things today.