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Tallon Deals With Eye Toward Building This Summer

Monday, 02.28.2011 / 10:34 PM / Features
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Tallon Deals With Eye Toward Building This Summer
John Gibson

Deadline Day Ends Busy February

During the month of February the Florida Panthers made eight trades and acquired 11 players and prospects and four draft picks.

Tallon On Trade Deadline Day
Trade With Atlanta Recap
Trade With Washington Recap
Trade With Carolina Recap
Anatomy Of A Trade Call (Washington Trade)
Wideman Reacts To Trade

Panthers Acquire D Evan Oberg and 2013 Third Round Pick From Vancouver In Exchange For F Chris Higgins
Panthers Acquire LW Sergei Samsonov From Carolina Hurricanes In Exchange For D Bryan Allen
Panthers Acquire 2011 Third Round Draft Pick And F Jake Hauswirth From Washington For D Dennis Wideman
Panthers Acquire F Niclas Bergfors And F Pat Rissmiller From Atlanta In Exchange For F Radek Dvorak And A 2011 Fifth Round Pick
By Dave Lozo for

Dale Tallon's first season as general manager of the Florida Panthers isn't likely to end with the franchise's first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2000, but maybe Tallon's thorough housecleaning on Monday will be the first step toward getting the Panthers back to the postseason in the near future.

Tallon parted ways with four veterans on trade deadline day -- defensemen Dennis Wideman and Bryan Allen and forwards Chris Higgins and Radek Dvorak. In return, the Panthers received forward Sergei Samsonov and Patrick Rissmiller, whose contracts expire after this season, 23-year-old Niclas Bergfors, prospects Evan Oberg and Jake Hauswirth and a pair of third-round draft picks.

The Panthers got younger and shaved a lot of payroll Monday without trading core players David Booth, Marty Reasoner and Stephen Weiss.

"The decision was made to keep our core together and keep our eye on the ball as far as the future is concerned," Tallon said. "We added a great number of picks and got younger and really solidified our future. The future is most important for us."

Tallon was realistic about the team's chances of making the playoffs this year, saying the Panthers would need to win about 15 of their remaining 20 games to qualify.

But he was more excited when the talk turned to the summer, when the Panthers would have more cap room and a plethora of picks to use at the 2011 Entry Draft in Minneapolis.

"It's going to be a great summer," Tallon said. "We got lots of money to spend freed up for next year. We got a lot of picks -- four thirds, two seconds and a first. Ten picks. We had 13 last year and I'm looking forward to getting a couple more at the draft. That's how you build a foundation. That's how you build a franchise in a hurry. All our kids this year are having phenomenal years.
We look forward to having another successful draft, then being very aggressive in the free-agent mark this summer, so it's going to be very hot and heavy in July."

The Panthers used their three first-round picks in 2010 to select defenseman Erik Gudbranson, center Nick Bjugstad and left wing Quinton Howden. Gudbranson has 10 goals and 17 assists in 35 games for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, Bjugstad has 5 goals in 25 games as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, and Howden has 38 goals and 30 assists in 50 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.

Building through the draft is how Tallon eventually created a Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks. Tallon selected Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Niklas Hjalmarsson, but he also supplemented that talent with free agents Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell and John Madden.

Who will be unrestricted free agents this summer? Some of the bigger names are Brad Richards, Ilya Bryzgalov and Andrei Markov. If the Panthers spend to the cap limit next season, Tallon will have about $40 million to use on free agents.

The only major impending free agent Tallon didn't unload was goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who carries a cap hit of about $6 million, which made it hard for a deal to get done Monday.

"I think the combination of the salary and there seems to be a lot of young goaltenders who have come up and taken the forefront of a lot of teams," Tallon said. "We did have an offer late in the day, but we didn't feel it was an offer worth doing."

Tallon, however, left the door open for the possibility of Vokoun returning next season.

"We're going to look at everything that makes us a better team. Tomas has intimated to me that he'd love to stay in Florida and so we'll seriously look at it. But we're not going to discuss any contracts till the season over with anybody," he said.

Tallon's biggest deal of the day was sending Wideman to the Capitals for Hauswirth and a third-round pick. It was also the most surprising deal, even for Tallon.

"It came out of nowhere," Tallon said. "It came to us today out of the blue. It frees up a lot of money for us to be aggressive summer."

Rumors usually aren't worth their weight in peanuts, but there was a lot of talk about Weiss, Booth and Reasoner being moved out of South Florida. In the end, Tallon felt those players were too valuable to let go.

"What we preached about at the beginning of the year, the people who earned it would stay," Tallon said. "We kept a good solid core of guys and we're now going to add some good young players to go with it and make some more moves in the offseason.

"We have a lot of assets now that we can move to really help our team develop quickly."




1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43


N. Bjugstad 63 22 16 -8 38
J. Huberdeau 60 9 27 4 36
J. Jokinen 62 6 28 0 34
A. Ekblad 63 10 23 8 33
B. Boyes 61 11 21 9 32
J. Jagr 59 12 19 -9 31
J. Hayes 54 17 10 -5 27
B. Campbell 63 3 20 3 23
A. Barkov 52 10 12 -4 22
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
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