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Tallon: ‘I’ve got to do a better job’

Apr 10, 2014, 10:18 AM EDT

Dale Tallon AP

The Florida Panthers didn’t even come close to making the playoffs this season and are on the verge of an embarrassing record.

These kind of campaigns are the norm in Florida, but there was hope that GM Dale Tallon could change that after his work laying the foundation for the Chicago Blackhawks’ near dynasty level of success. Although he did oversee the Panthers as they made the playoffs in 2012 for the first time in more than a decade, Florida descended right back to its losing ways.

“I’ve got to do a better job, simple as that,” Tallon told the Sun-Sentinel.

Tallon admitted that the organization overestimated certain players and they’ve lacked the depth to cope with the injuries that have come their way.

“This year, it’s just a matter of relying on an 18-year-old (Aleksander Barkov) and 21-year-old (Nick Bjugstad) to be top-line centers,” Tallon said. “That’s tough on them. It’s tough on everyone. And they were our best players.”

At the same time, he’s upbeat because he expects to be able to spend to the salary cap ceiling under new owner Vinnie Viola. The Panthers are projected to have somewhere in the range of $30 million in cap space going into the summer, so they can afford to be aggressive on the free agent market.

Of course, luring players to a team that has only made the playoffs once in the 21st century might be a challenge, but Tallon is hoping that the acquisition of goaltender Roberto Luongo will prove to free agents that the team is committed to winning in the near future.

The flip side to all this is that, if the Panthers really do spend to the cap, then expectation for Tallon will rise as well. In the past, Tallon had to make do with less resources than other teams. If Florida is spending as much as any other squad, then that won’t be an excuse going forward.

  1. mustbechris - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    I can only assume they’ll fire him and then the Panthers will win the cup like a year later

    • comeonnowguys - Apr 10, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      And then have to decimate their team because of paperwork issues.

  2. rushledger - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    After gillis got fired (even though he deserved it) he did accomplish things there. I feel like that has Tallon nervous hence his comments, rightfully so.
    Tallon and the panthers got in the playoffs that year because the southeast is easy and the only threat Washington wasn’t good in 2011-12. So they have 1 division title, 1 playoff round, and a couple of individual trophies Huberdeu and Campbell for Calder and a lady byng, that’s the entire extent of his run. I’m guessing he has two years left to get some legitimate results or he’s gone.

  3. alicesrightfootesq - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Tallon has done a great job drafting and stock piling young talent. He didn’t have the finances to make any big moves until after this season began. His only real failure (if you can call it that) was hiring Kevin Dineen. I think he’s got at least 2-3 years to work with before he’s on any real “hot seat.”

    • storminator16 - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:12 PM

      Yeah, outside looking in I can’t say Tallon’s done a bad job. I would kill to have the young players the Panthers have. Just give it time.

  4. kingsfan93 - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    What about B. Campbell & Ed Jovanovski? I think they should get rid of them too.

    Also, D. Tallon needs to stop going thru free agency so much as if it is the way to build a team.

  5. Brian - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Pretty sure Tallon said two years ago that acquiring Brian Campbell was going to prove to free agents that they were committed to winning too. Maybe you should come up with a new strategy to show your commitment to wining, Dale? Like by winning? Oh well, I’m sure two years from now he can do the Hawks another favour by acquiring an aging Marian Hossa, the after that he can trade for the Sedins, all in the name of proving your commitment to winning (without actually winning).

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 10, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      Tallon may have said that a few years ago, but that was also under different ownership. Said ownership only would spend money to the cap floor. The new ownership has allegedly given Tallon the blessing to spend what he wants.

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