The Florida Panthers announced on Friday that they have extended the contract of executive vice president and general manager Dale Tallon by three years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In addition, the team has named Tom Rowe associate general manager. Rowe had been the head coach of the AHL’s Portland Pirates.
Praising the two of them, Vinnie Viola, Owner, Governor and Chairman of the Panthers, said, “We have benefited tremendously from their expertise already. The success of both our NHL and AHL clubs this season is a direct result of Dale and Tom’s leadership and stewardship. With the stability provided by the recent Broward County Commissioners vote, we look forward to continuing to strengthen our team both on and off the ice as we work towards the singular goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
Tallon has been with the Panthers for six seasons, building a young squad that held first place in the Atlantic Division when the extension was announced.
They’ve drafted and built largely, currently carrying Tallon draft picks as cornerstones of the team, including Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Nick Bjugstad, Erik Gudbranson and Jonathan Huberdeau.
The Tallon Tenure
Tallon has done a lot of good things in Florida since arriving. There have certainly been some things that fans aren’t thrilled about, but every GM is going to make mistakes — the Dave Bolland contract may be at the top of his list — but you try to create a positive balance between the mistakes and the moves that add value above what is expected.
For every Dave Bolland or Shawn Thornton, there’s the trade for Brandon Pirri or using cap space to swap Reilly Smith for Jimmy Hayes (Smith is a RFA after the last two years of this deal expire). Hayes himself was brought over in a move that saw the Cats acquire him and defenseman Dylan Olsen for Kris Versteeg and Philippe Lefebvre, who was acquired in 2013 with a draft pick from Montreal for a 33-year-old George Parros.
Tallon has created value for Florida, creating a nice balance of veterans and young players. They’re currently carrying 14 players 25 of younger, including all of the aforementioned cornerstones and Pirri, Smith, Connor Brickley, Alex Petrovic, Vincent Trocheck and Dmitry Kulikov, the only player remaining from the pre-Tallon era.
They also have five players 36 or older. Many of those have worked out well and managed to create a nice leadership group that can teach the young players a lot. That older group includes Jaromir Jagr, Roberto Luongo, Brian Campbell and Willie Mitchell.
Tallon has also got a promising group of prospects outside of the players in the NHL, including Lawson Crouse, Samuel Montembeault, Denis Malgin, Jayce Hawryluk, Kyle Rau, Rocco Grimaldi and others. (Just think if they hadn’t given up on Iiro Pakarinen and Joonas Donskoi…)
Tallon’s earned a nice extension and has yet to have the kind season that defines his legacy in Florida. It’s been a slow build, but it looks like the fruits of their labor are coming in the form of a strong team with a future and prospects still coming down the pike.
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Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.