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Tallon: Panthers ‘going to go with our young guys’ next season

Jul 17, 2013, 11:54 PM EDT

Dale Tallon, Jonathan Huberdeau Getty Images

To say the Florida Panthers didn’t add much in free agency is an understatement — their biggest signings were (probably) Joey Crabb and Mike Mottau.

But GM Dale Tallon says it’s all part of the plan.

“We’re going to go with our young guys,” Tallon told NHL.com. “That’s been the plan all along and that’s the way we’re going to go.”

In fairness to Tallon, it’s a plan worth trying.

Florida has been stockpiling high draft picks ever since 2010 — the year Tallon joined the club — and now appears primed to show ‘em off.

In 2010, it was Erik Gudbranson (third overall), Nick Bjugstad (19th) and Quinton Howden (25th).

In 2011, it was this year’s Calder Trophy winner, Jonathan Huberdeau (third overall) and Rocco Grimaldi (33rd overall).

In 2012, it was Mike Matheson (23rd overall) and at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, it was Aleksander Barkov (second overall).

All told, that’s seven top-35 picks, and a few others selected just outside the top 35 (Alex Petrovic, Vincent Trochek) that are ready to challenge for spots as well.

While the Panthers figure to go through some major growing pains with so many youngsters in the lineup, Tallon says it’s a necessary step to speed up the learning process. Florida can’t exactly go through a lengthy rebuild, given the club has only made the playoffs once in the last 12 seasons.

“We’ve got to go in a different direction with our young guys,” Tallon said. “The Barkovs and Bjugstads and [Drew] Shores and Trochecks — those are the guys that are our future.

“That’s what’s going to have to get done here.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the youngsters mix with Florida’s old guard.

The Panthers are captained by Ed Jovanovski — who just turned 37 in June — and will probably need to lean on fellow blueliners like Mottau (35) Mike Weaver (34) and Brian Campbell (33) for guidance.

  1. lofty35 - Jul 18, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    How long before Jovanovski asks to be traded? Going to be a long and frustrating year for Panther fans

  2. sharkie29 - Jul 18, 2013 at 3:37 AM

    Should’ve drafted Drouin! Would have been a dirty future top line Drouin-Huberdeau- ?

  3. rushledger - Jul 18, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    Drouin would have been great, didn’t expect them to take the kid they did at 2. Hope he pans out. Don’t pull at thrashers and let them all play, If they’re worthy of a a chance and a spot, which some will be great, others may need time in the minors. I think they should give Malholtra a sign for like a million or so for his defensive play and face off ability. Can never have enough depth down the middle.

  4. drewsylvania - Jul 18, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    How many years of “rebuilding” is this now?

  5. dirtydave6986 - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    Don’t forget Rocco Grimaldi once he decides to leave North Dakota was a top 35 pick as well

    • dirtydave6986 - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Okay that was mentioned, I’m an idiot…go ahead and vote down my last statement. Although Kyle Rau looked nice with Minnesota this year

  6. lateralous - Jul 18, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    In other words, “My Owner has decided to go cheap, so since I will not be able to sign that extra top 6 forward, d-man and back-up goalie that we need to legitimately have a shot at making the playoffs, we will sink or swim with the young guys because we have no other choice.” Sound right?

  7. wingz101 - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    I have mixed feels about these perpetually rebuilding teams. On the one hand these young guys need experience, but on the other hand look at teams like the Oilers … a lot of their young guys get banged up a ton (RNH major shoulder issues, Hall missed 15 games per year first two seasons) and they get so many bad habits defensively that later it seems hard for them to improve.

    The panthers have to do something, but it would help if the owner spent $$$ to surround these guys with better veterans. Jovo is pretty much washed up. Mottau and Crabb? Seriously ….

  8. blackhawks2010 - Jul 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Panthers will be tough in 2015-16. Remind me of the Hawks in 2007. Enjoy watching the Cats grow and learn to win.

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