As the remainder of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft got underway at the Bell Centre in Montréal, Darren Dreger announced during TSN's (The Sports Network) broadcast that the long-awaited departure of Florida Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester finally happened.
The Panthers sent Bouwmeester's rights to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Jordan Leopold and this year's #67 overall draft pick.
Florida later selected 18-year-old forward Josh Birkholz, who scored 21 goals and recorded 15 assists for 36 points in 55 games for the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League. Birkholz plans to attend the University of Minnesota next season.
Both Bouwmeester and Leopold are each expected to become unrestricted free agents on July 1st. But their new teams have until then to exclusively negotiate new contracts. Potentially, the Panthers could be the only team to gain from this transaction in a worst case scenario with their draft selection from Calgary.
See the video clip below to hear what Flames general manager Darryl Sutter had to say on acquiring Bouwmeester this morning.
video courtesy: NHL Productions
Florida Panthers official news release (June 27):
Cats acquire Leopold, pick for Bouwmeester