By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
|Dennis Seidenberg joins the Panthers after two seasons with the Hurricanes (Getty Images)
Veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who agreed to a one-year contract Monday with the Panthers pending a signed contract, will find himself this season surrounded by familiar faces and spaces.
Not only has Seidenberg played in the past with Panthers Cory Stillman, Steve Reinprecht, Keith Ballard and Jeff Taffe, but his wife, Rebecca, attended high school in Boca Raton and her parent’s winter in Palm Beach.
“She has a lot of friends down here,” said Seidenberg Monday afternoon before preparing to meet the Panthers in Canada at training camp. “So she’s definitely happy about coming down.”
Seidenberg, who spent the past seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, comes to the Panthers after having his best season offensively, scoring 30 points (five goals, 25 assists) in 70 games. He also led the Hurricanes with 160 blocked shots, ranking him 17th in the NHL. He added six points last season in 16 playoff games with the Hurricanes.
“I think it’s a great addition,” said Panthers coach Peter DeBoer after watching his club practice and scrimmage in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia. “We had obviously been looking for another veteran defenseman throughout the summer. The fact we got him is great. I watched him in the conference finals with Carolina. He played on their top four and he was playing 22 minutes a night. We need a defenseman back there who can eat up some minutes.”
Seidenberg, 28, a native of Schwenningen, West Germany, had 15 assists in 2007-08 despite missing some 20 games with an ankle injury. He played 52 games between Phoenix and Carolina in 2006-07, scoring two goals and six assists.
When asked if he considered last year a breakout season, Seidenberg replied; “Definitely. I got a lot of ice time last year and when you get a lot of ice time, you get confidence. When the coach puts you on the ice you get that confidence and the more confidence you get the freer your mind is (to play).”
Drafted in 2001 by Philadelphia in the sixth round (172nd overall), Seidenberg split his first 3 seasons in the NHL between the Flyers and their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate before being traded to Phoenix in January of 2006.
Seidenberg represented Germany in both the 2002 and 2006 Olympics and was a member of Germany’s 2004 World Cup. Panthers forward Cory Stillman, a teammate of Seidenberg in Carolina, said the defenseman is a good addition for the team.
“I spoke to him about a week ago after I heard we were interested in acquiring him,” Stillman said. “I told him we have a good team and that he would fit in well and be given an opportunity to play. He is a hard worker who can skate, shoot and block shots and he will help make our club better.”
Despite the signing of Seidenberg and invitations to camp to veteran defenseman Martin Skoula and Christian Backman, DeBoer said there’s still “jobs available on defense” for rookies Dmitry Kulikov
, Jason Garrison
and Keaton Ellerby
“The kids have to earn a job,” he said. “We want to get to a point in the organization where we’re not handing jobs to young guys. They have to earn it.” TRAINING CAMP NOTES
The Panthers intrasquad scrimmage Monday morning ended in a 2-2 tie. Stephen Weiss
and Jamie Johnson scored for the blue team and Graham Mink and Michael Frolik for the white…The Cats' rookies earned a 6-1 victory over St. Francis Xavier Monday night, scoring twice in each period. Andrew Sweetland scored twice while Kenndal McArdle, Michal Repik
, Adam Comrie and Mike Duco all added one each...DeBoer said Radek Dvorak is not expected to meet the team until Friday at the earliest as he tends to family matters…The Panthers will practice Tuesday morning in Port Hawkesbury before bussing to Halifax for their game against the Senators. The Panthers roster for Tuesday’s game: David Booth, Nick Tarnasky, Kenndal McArdle, David Brine, Stephen Weiss
, Shawn Matthias
, Kamil Kreps, Scott Timmins
, Nathan Horton, Michal Repik
, Evgeny Davodov, Victor Oreskovich, Keith Ballard, Christian Backman, Ville Koistinen, Keaton Ellerby
, Dmitry Kulikov
, Jason Garrison
, Scott Clemmensen
, Alexander Salak…