Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon’s renovation seemed to pinball around the league, bringing back old faces for the franchise (Ed Jovanovski) and his own experiences (Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Kopecky) along with a few random risks (Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Fleischmann). It’s been a while since there was a hint of familiarity in Florida’s moves, but that seems to be the case with two transactions today.
First things first, the Panthers re-signed a player from within the organization as Mike Santorelli agreed to a two-year contract to stay with the team. As usual, the financial details haven’t been revealed, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it was a nice deal since he was the team’s second leading scorer with 20 goals and 41 points overall in 2010-11. (Only Stephen Weiss scored more points with 49.) Santorelli was an impressive player in the Nashville Predators’ system but never really stuck with the big club before being traded to Florida, where he flourished in a contract year as a second-line center. He might not get the same amount of playing time to prove that his breakthrough year wasn’t a fluke considering all of the incoming forwards, though.
In even more heart-warming news, Tallon hired from within the Southeast Division by adding former Atlanta Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay to Florida’s coaching staff as an assistant. It’s nice to see Ramsay land on his feet after being fired after just one season with the Thrashers organization because the team moved to Winnipeg. Ramsay seemed to do a great job with Atlanta’s defensemen, so maybe Florida can get some value out of Jovanovski and Campbell while they bring along some solid defensive prospects. Ben Wright points out that key members of that Thrashers coaching staff found jobs after the Winnipeg move, which is comforting considering their bad luck in losing those jobs in the first place.
I haven’t agreed with most of the moves Tallon made this summer, but these two decisions look pretty good (depending on Santorelli’s price).