Florida Panthers Waive Wade Belak, More Changes To Come?

Aaron BrenkerCorrespondent INovember 22, 2008


Earlier today the Florida Panthers waived enforcer Wade Belak. Belak was a very good checking forward, but brought nothing to the table offensively. This was a move to possibly free up a bit of salary space for the Panthers.

Throughout the season Belak played sparingly and was only put in to help protect the Panthers' younger players. However, with the acquisitions of Keith Ballard, Nick Boytnon, and Bryan McCabe, Belak was not needed as much.

The Panthers may be shifting focus to acquire players now. Rumors have surfaced that the Panthers are continuing to shop around for disgruntled defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.

The most interest seems to be coming from the Ottawa Senators. The loss of Zdeno Chara a few seasons ago, and the loss of Wade Redden last off-season, have left the Sens with no puck-moving defensmen. The loss of puck-moving defensemen has severely hampered Ottawa's powerplay, thus they are in serious need of a trade.

The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that the rumored package includes forward Antoine Vermette, defenseman Cristoph Schubert, and Ottawa's first round draft pick. Panthers' center Stephen Weiss may possibly be involved in the package as well.

Ottawa has also claimed they have interest in defenseman Cory Murphy, however that rumor seems to have subsided.

The trade would be beneficial for both teams, as Vermette is a solid player in need of a change of scenery, and Schubert is another physical presence that could help protect the Panthers' forwards. Bouwmeester would be an excellent pick-up for Ottawa as well.  He would fill their need for an offensive defenseman and help solidify the Sens' powerplay.

Time will tell if these rumors are accurate, but both team's need a roster shakeup, and this trade could provide just that.