Report: Tallon is calling the shots again for the Panthers

11 Comments

It sounds like Dale Tallon is back to doing that thing he allegedly never stopped doing. So does this mean he’s no longer freezing his butt off in rinks while scouting?

OK, that’s confusing, right? Let’s walk this back.

Back in July when Tom Rowe was named GM and Tallon was promoted to director of hockey operations of the Florida Panthers, a lot of people would have placed “promoted” in quotation marks. Many believed that Tallon was handed a fancy title while believers in fancy stats would be making the key personnel decisions.

From the way they spent their money during the summer to the controversial firing of Gerard Gallant, it certainly seemed like there was a change in pace, even if Tallon insisted that he had the final call on decisions. Many in the hockey world frankly disagree with Tallon’s public assessment of his power in the organization.

Now it appears as if though Tallon really is making those GM-type decisions again, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Here’s the first in a line of tweets on the subject from Dreger:

And, just to remind you of the confusion over who wears the pants in the Panthers family:

Interesting.

Dreger notes that, since Rowe decided to serve as interim head coach, Tallon is tasked with “fixing things” and running the hockey operations on a day-to-day basis. It’s totally reasonable to wonder what this means for the analytical approach, especially when Dreger reports that Tallon wants to (wait for it) make the Panthers “tougher to play against.”

(Code for … well, all sorts of anti-fancy-stat things, at least generally speaking.)

If you want the tl;dr version: Tallon is, more or less, back to being GM of the Panthers, according to Dreger’s report. He appears to be “back in power.”

This comes a day after the Panthers were roasted for a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, with many a stat-hater trotting out their favorite “I told you so” tweets.

For some, this is the Panthers trying to “stabilize” management, as Dreger concludes. Others wonder if this is yet another move made in the interest of “optics.”

Of course, there are plenty of other people who just believe that this is one big mess. Actually, that might be the one thing that both sides of the “stats” debate would probably agree upon right now.

Habs president Molson pens glowing farewell letter to Markov

Getty
Leave a comment

Another bold move by GM Marc Bergevin, another statement from Montreal Canadiens president/CEO Geoff Molson.

However Molson actually feels about the franchise’s decision to let Andrei Markov leave for the KHL, he provided quite the goodbye letter regarding the 38-year-old defenseman. One can’t help but wonder how Molson feels about Montreal’s overall makeover, whether you believe Mark Streit is really “replacing” Markov or not.

Anyway, that will need to wait. In the meantime, here’s the very kind statement from Molson to Markov:

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Andrei for his great contributions during his 16 seasons as a proud member of the Montreal Canadiens. Arguably one of the best defensemen in franchise history, Andrei was a model of dedication to the great game of hockey. A respected figure around the league and among his teammates, Andrei demonstrated leadership both on and off the ice. Andrei’s commitment to our franchise was second to none, proven by his overcoming three serious and potentially career-ending injuries. I would like to wish Andrei the best of luck in the next step of his career, and happiness with his family.”

Speaking of Canadiens all-timers, Larry Robinson had plenty of nice things to say about Markov, too.

Related

Markov, Habs officially part ways.

Markov is headed to the KHL.

Sabres re-sign Eichel’s buddy Rodrigues for two years

Getty
Leave a comment

The Buffalo Sabres might have signed Evan Rodrigues back in 2015 in part because he enjoyed so much success as a college linemate with Jack Eichel at Boston University, but the undrafted forward seems like he’s making a case that he’ll be a part of their future in his own right.

The Sabres handed Rodrigues a two-year deal that is two-way in 2017-18 and one-way in 2018-19. Whenever he’s at the NHL level, it’s worth $650K per season.

Rodrigues debuted in 2015-16, scoring a goal and an assist in two games. He managed to play in 30 regular-season contests for the Sabres last season, collecting six points.

He’s shown quite a bit of improvement at the AHL level, in particular. After collecting 30 points in 72 games for the Rochester Americans in 2015-16, he scored 30 again in 2016-17, although he only needed 48 contests to do so. Rodrigues isn’t quite Matt Moulson to Eihel’s John Tavares just yet, but it’s possible that he might at least development into a regular NHL player.

Buffalo’s work isn’t done for the summer just yet, as RFAs Zemgus Girgensons and Nathan Beaulieu still need deals.

Andrei Markov opts for KHL after saying goodbye to Canadiens

Getty
Leave a comment

Andrei Markov wanted to play his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens. With that option officially off the table, Markov announced that he’s headed for Russia and the KHL.

“I didn’t see myself with any other NHL team,” Markov said during a conference call wrapping up his lengthy stay with the Habs. “I didn’t see myself wearing another jersey.”

(At least not the jersey of another NHL team.)

The 38-year-old also noted that he hasn’t closed the door to a return to Montreal. That makes sense since it seems like it was largely the Canadiens’ decision to part ways with Markov, essentially replacing him with Mark Streit at a heavily discounted rate.

Beyond the comforts of home, Markov was almost certainly motivated to play in the KHL because of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The veteran blueliner did not mention which KHL team he’ll end up playing for. There were some rumblings that Markov might sign with the Florida Panthers, but that turned out to not be true.

If it’s a one-year deal, a return to the Habs is at least feasible in 2018-19. Considering his age, it sure seems like this is the end of Markov’s lengthy run with the Canadiens, though.

After making NHL debut, Jones re-ups with Isles

Getty
Leave a comment

One of the Isles’ feel-good stories from last season wrote a new chapter on Thursday.

Connor Jones, the undrafted 26-year-old that made his NHL debut in April, has signed a one-year, two-way extension, the club announced.

Jones certainly earned his way to the show. He spent four years at Quinnipiac before catching on with the Oilers, spending time with both their AHL and ECHL affiliates before jumping to the Isles organization in 2015.

Though he’s not an offensive producer — just 19 points in 58 games with Bridgeport last season — Jones emerged as a good energy guy that proved an effective penalty killer.

With AHL Bridgeport, he also played alongside his twin brother, Kellen, who was in attendance as Connor made his NHL debut in April.

Connor would go on to play four games for the Isles, averaging just under 12 minutes per night.