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Panthers owner tells GM Tallon he can spend to cap

Jan 12, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT

Dale Tallon AP

The Florida Panthers are losing $20 million to $30 million annually and are asking for additional help from Broward county in an attempt to stop or slow the bleeding.

At the same time, owner Vinnie Viola wants to make it clear that he’s not abandoning his commitment to turning the Panthers into a competitive franchise. In fact, he gave GM Dale Tallon the green light this week to spend to the salary cap.

“They’ve given me an open [wallet]. I’m pumped up,” Tallon told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We can do hockey deals now, what the best deal is as far as hockey is considered.”

That gives Tallon a tremendous amount of flexibility as the Panthers currently have the lowest cap hit in the NHL, according to Cap Geek.

They also have around $40.5 million in cap space committed to 12 players for the 2014-15 campaign, but with the ceiling projected to reach $71.1 million, they can afford to be very aggressive in the trade and free agent markets as they work to build around their young and still developing core.

Related:

How the Panthers make money despite, er, losing money

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