|Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) |
Panthers General Manager Jacques Martin answered the South Florida media's questions after coming to terms on a one-year deal with restricted free agent defenseman Jay Bouwmeester on Monday, July 28th. The deal avoided a July 29th arbitration hearing in Toronto.
Are you pleased with the one-year deal that Jay agreed to?
I’m real happy to get an agreement finalized with Jay and his agent. We feel satisfied for both parties. It’s a fair deal for us and our organization, and it’s a fair deal for him and what he brings to the table. He is one of our young players; plays a lot of minutes and plays in a lot of types of on-ice situations. It’s nice to have this behind us. Is there any frustration in not being able to work out a long term deal?
I don’t know if it is frustrating. I think being able to get this agreement worked out shows good faith on behalf of both parties. And it’s an opportunity for Jay to step in and help our team to continue to reach its goals. We feel we are going to have success with the moves that we have made this off-season. We really feel that we have improved our defense tremendously.
When you look at him being signed now, you add Ballard, you add Boynton to the mix, I think that changes our defense tremendously. We are pleased that he is on board and we hope at some point during this season we can sign him to a long-term deal. Why did you feel it was important to get his deal done today and avoid arbitration?
I have always said as much as possible that I believe that we want to be fair with our player, we want to be fair with our athletes. We will treat them right. This is a good example were both sides worked hard. It took a long time, but we were able to reach an agreement that both sides are happy with.How important do you feel a good start to the season is in order to enhance Jay to sign long term with the Panthers?
We have a player that was a third overall pick for the organization. He is a kid that is a winner, he is a competitor, he wants to get into the playoffs and he wants to win a championship. We are very pleased that we have signed him and now we have to show and prove to him on where this team is going. Have you ever entertained any thoughts of trading Jay, in order to get back something in return, instead on losing him in free agency?
As a General Manager you look at what each player brings and what the best options are for your club. We are happy that we got Jay signed, and we hope that he is going to be with us for a long time. But this is something we will have to deal with in due time. Right now we are excited about him coming to camp and that we avoided arbitration. It’s something that both parties are happy with, and that’s a step in the right direction.