Sports Outside the Beltway

The Eagle has flown- Eddie Belfour no longer wanted by the Florida Panthers

In the wake of the Tomas Vokoun deal, Florida management has decided they no longer need the veteran goaltender.

General manager/coach Jacques Martin said Friday it will not be Ed Belfour, 42. Belfour played in 58 games last season and set the franchise record for consecutive starts, but he will not be invited back.

Look for Florida to re-sign Alex Auld and Craig Anderson, and have them compete for the spot in training camp. The loser will have to look for work elsewhere.

Eddie did a good job in goal last year before tiring near season’s end. Besides Auld and Anderson, do the Panthers’ have anyone in the minors worth giving a shot to? I don’t much about Florida’s farm system, but what I know of Auld and looking at Anderson’s stats, don’t make me confident in their ability to be an adequate backup. Who knows I could be wrong.

The Panthers chose Keaton Ellerby in the first round of this weekend’s NHL Draft. One scouting expert wasn’t impressed.

But draft guru Kyle Woodlief isn’t so sure.

Woodlief, who publishes the independent Red Line Report and is considered hockey’s answer to Mel Kiper Jr., said Ellerby failed to progress in his third season of junior hockey last season and had enough conflicts with Kamloops coach Dean Clark that he was benched for a time.

“I just think he lacks hockey sense,” Woodlief said. “He’s a big kid, he skates well … (but) I expected him to step up and take a dominant position this year and he didn’t do that.”

Woodlief said Clark almost never disciplines a player, but decided he had no option with Ellerby.

“He wasn’t listening to the coaches, (he was) really full of himself. Dean Clark had to sit him for a game or two. And it’s tough to get on Dean Clark’s bad side.”

Woodlief rated Ellerby the No. 21 prospect in the draft, while the NHL’s Central Scouting had him No. 5. In his comment on Ellerby, Woodlief wrote: “Has even less hockey sense than (NHL Commissioner) Gary Bettman.”

Ouch! A player with a big head before turning pro is liable to only have it increase in size. We’ll have to wait a few years to see if Florida management or Woodlief is right about Ellerby.

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Vokoun is a good pick up, he bounced back well from injury last season. They have other pieces in place already so they have a good shot at making a run for a 7-8 spot…of course that could all change after July 1st.

Posted by Mister Biggs | June 25, 2007 | 09:09 am | Permalink

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