Florida Panthers and Prodigy Jay Bouwmeester Toil in Obscurity

That's South Florida sports for you.

For a franchise that seems to lose a star every year, it would be heartbreaking to the team's few fans to watch Bouwmeester go the way of Jokinen and Luongo. The chances of the strapping defenseman staying in Florida? "Slim," says Burnside, who named Bouwmeester among the prizes that could be had at this season's trading deadline, if the price is right. He thinks Bouwmeester might play with more passion if he goes to a true hockey market, like those in his native Canada, where he'll be reunited with rabid fans.

Bouwmeester (No. 4, left) is a familiar face in goal celebrations, but some would rather see him with his dukes up.
Doug Benc/Getty Images/Newscom
Bouwmeester (No. 4, left) is a familiar face in goal celebrations, but some would rather see him with his dukes up.
Bouwmeester brawling with Maxime Talbot in November 2005.
Gary Rothstein/Icon SMI/Newscom
Bouwmeester brawling with Maxime Talbot in November 2005.

So far Bouwmeester has avoided the subject of his commitment to the team, saying that the future is up to the Panthers. But his father Dan seems to have two hands firmly on the crystal ball. "I know what's going to happen," he says cryptically, "but I can't be open about it."

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