Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida Panthers acquire C Steve Reinprecht from Phoenix

This is the second straight post season that has seen a trade between the teams. From the Sun-Sentinel-

The Panthers signed center Steve Reinprecht to a three-year contract on Friday after acquiring his exclusive negotiating rights from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for prospect Stefan Meyer.

Reinprecht (pronounced REIGN-prehkt), 33, was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

He had 14 goals and 27 assists in 73 games with the Coyotes last season and has recorded at least 40 points in five of his eight NHL seasons, including a pair of 50-plu point seasons (2002-03, 2005-06) and a Stanley Cup championship with Colorado in 2001.

Reinprecht, an Edmonton, Alberta, native, started his career with the Los Angeles Kings, and then went on to play for the Avalanche, Flames and Coyotes.

Meyer, a center/winger, had zero points in four games with the Panthers last season and had 21 goals and 19 assists in 70 games for AHL Rochester.

“Steve is a smart, high character, hard working player who fits our club’s need for a second line center,” Panthers’ general manager Randy Sexton said of Reinprecht in a statement released by the Panthers on Friday. “We are constantly looking to upgrade our team speed and he brings this to our club as part of his skill set.

Sexton is spinning this deal, and not convincingly so. Reinprecht is a career third liner. That’s what he did in Phoenix. Why would it be any different in Florida?

Florida does need a center, Nathan Horton played out of position last season. Brett McLean was almost an offensive zero in 2008-09.(19 points in 80 games) So I understand why Florida made a trade but am not confident about Reinprecht being an upgrade for Florida. I still strongly believe the Panthers need to give Shawn Matthias a chance. In 2008-09 in his limited time with Florida, Matthias was consigned to the 4th line. Behind the worthless McLean. That personnel decision never made sense to me other than Florida deciding who to play based on what player got paid the most. A good decision for business purposes, but a rotten one if you want to win hockey games.

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