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Sexton named Panthers General Manager

by Shawn P. Roarke

"I'm comfortable with what has to get done and now it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work."
-- Randy Sexton

HELSINKI -- Randy Sexton will take home the best souvenir of all from the Florida Panthers' historic trip to Finland for the 2009 NHL Compuware Premiere Challenge series.

An hour before Florida dropped the puck on its season, playing against the Chicago Blackhawks at Hartwall Arena, the Panthers named Sexton the team's new general manager. The 50-year-old Sexton has been handling the GM duties on an interim basis since then-GM Jacques Martin left to coach the Montreal Canadiens on June 10, 2009.

"We felt it was important as we headed into this season that we have a GM in place," Panthers President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark said Friday.

Sexton became that GM mainly because of the work he has done on an interim basis after Martin left. But the fact that he has served as the team's assistant GM since joining the club in 2007 also didn't hurt. Yormark said it was important that Sexton understood the culture of the Florida Panthers, as well as Florida's ownership setup, calling it "a natural fit."

Now, Sexton is ready to get down to the business of being the team's full-time GM. Sexton has proven with his body of work since joining the Panthers that the duties of running the franchise are not beyond his scope.

"I'm comfortable with the job and the day-to-day activities," Sexton said. "I was a GM in Ottawa for three years, so I have a sense of what the responsibilities. Things have changed since I was in Ottawa, obviously, with the advent of the salary cap and the rules around that.

"I'm comfortable with what has to get done and now it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work."

Sexton joined Florida as the assistant GM in 2007 after leaving the Senators and has been instrumental in building the team's young core. In the past three years, he has kept restricted free agents like Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton and David Booth.

This summer, Sexton signed goalie Scott Clemmensen and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, as well as obtaining defenseman Jordan Leopold in the trade that moved Jay Bouwmeester to Calgary right before the 2009 Entry Draft in Montreal.

"As we worked through the summer -- draft, free agency -- we realized he was the right guy," Yormark said.

Sexton is excited to be given the opportunity, believing the Panthers to be on the rise. In fact, he compared his team to the Ottawa team he and Martin built into a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference.

"We are well on our way to meeting or exceeding what Ottawa has done," Sexton said. "We have a great core of young players in Florida. We have assembled what I think is a terrific scouting staff and a great coaching staff and I think, together, we are going, move this franchise forward." 

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