Joe Yerdon

Tallon is building the Panthers in a familiar way

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Panthers GM Dale Tallon made a name for himself being the guy who essentially built the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup team in 2010.

When he took over the Florida Panthers in the summer of 2010, he knew he had to help build them from the ground up and his design is looking mighty familiar to what he did in Chicago.

Think of the players he drafted in Chicago that became Cup winners: Niklas Hjalmarsson (4th round – 2005), Jonathan Toews (3rd overall – 2006), Patrick Kane (1st overall – 2007), Marcus Kruger (5th round – 2009).

In Florida, he’s had more than his fair share of high first-round picks and looking at how he’s used them, the similarities to Chicago are eerie.

2010: Erik Gudbranson (D), Nick Bjugstad (C), Quinton Howden (F)
2011: Jonathan Huberdeau (F)
2012: Michael Matheson (D)
2013: Aleksander Barkov (C)

Next season’s Panthers roster could see five of those six players suiting up on opening night (Matheson is currently at Boston College).

Barkov is set to be Huberdeau’s set-up man and the parallels to those two possibly being the next Toews and Kane are there. Gudbranson came on a bit last season after getting his shoulder repaired and showed he can be a physically intimidating player.

If Bjugstad and Howden live up to their potential and Matheson emerges when he’s through with school, this Florida team could be very tough to beat… Eventually.

Latest bid to stop Coyotes sale fails again

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There’s not much left to do in Glendale to keep the Coyotes there.

Glendale resident Ken Jones and his group of citizens failed, for the third time, to get enough signatures to bring the Coyotes deal to a vote. As Caitlin McGlade of the Arizona Republic hears it from Jones, he felt he was trying to save the city from itself.

“We did not want Glendale to become a miniature Detroit,” Jones said, adding the job was “just too big” for the volunteers.

“They are better citizens than those that did nothing. Shame on those who stood silently by like sheep,” he said.

Jones and his group had to amass 7,000 signatures to bring the Coyotes deal to a city-wide vote but he says he only got three-fourths that amount.

His reference to Detroit is due to that city declaring bankruptcy recently. Of course, Detroit also approved finances to build a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings so maybe the parallels are already a bit too strong.

With this latest effort to block the sale now over with, it’s up to the Ice Arizona group to complete the sale and for the NHL Board of Governors to approve it. The potential ownership group has until Monday, August 5 to complete the sale.

Clifford on new deal: ‘Sure beats shoveling [poop] for $10 an hour’

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Kyle Clifford signed a two-year deal to stay with the Kings yesterday and while we haven’t heard what the financial details are yet, the man himself doesn’t seem too concerned with that.

Clifford tells John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor his particular grounded way to look at being a professional athlete and being not bothered by how large his paycheck is.

“Whatever it ends up being, it’s going to be good money; better than shoveling shit for $10-an-hour, like I used to do when I was a teenager,” he said.

Curiously enough, Clifford is a favorite of coach Darryl Sutter who’s been know to shovel some barns out himself.

Clifford’s new deal is a relief to him because it puts an end to some of the trade rumors that had been circulating around him. For now, he’ll have his hands full competing to stay in the lineup and bring that sandpaper-like kind of game to the ice.

Malkin says Russian stars were ready to stay in KHL

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We all remember how not-delightful the NHL lockout was. It could’ve been particularly destructive for the league had some of their top Russian players never returned from overseas when it ended, however.

That’s precisely what almost went down according to Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. He tells SovSport, as translated by Igor Kleyner of Capitals blog Russian Machine Never Breaks that he and other superstar Russians like Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, and Pavel Datsyuk nearly stayed at home last season.

While Kovalchuk did find a way to return home, Malkin also says the lure of going back to Russia to play there will always be there and it’s something he might consider doing later in his career.

Teams and fans will always have that fear their favorite Russian player will want to return to their roots. Kovalchuk and Jets forward Alex Burmistrov both pulled that off this year.

As for Malkin, unless he pulls a Kovalchuk he won’t be going anywhere soon as his extension with the Penguins kicks in this season and lasts til the end of 2022.

It’s Florida Panthers day on PHT

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Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Florida Panthers.

After making the playoffs and winning the Southeast Division two years ago, things went back to “normal” last year for the Panthers. They were last in the division, Eastern Conference, and the league. Things went so poorly they didn’t even land the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Now that they’ve put that behind them, it appears they’ve got another potentially bumpy season ahead with a very young team. GM Dale Tallon will eventually look like a smart guy when their prospects finally make it to the show, but for now everyone’s going to have some growing pains.

Offseason recap

It all started at the NHL Draft for the Panthers as they selected Aleksander Barkov with the second overall pick giving them a potential No. 1 center to play with Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau. When free agency started, it was more about who wasn’t coming back.

Gone are center Stephen Weiss, winger Peter Mueller and goalie Jose Theodore. They also bought out defenseman Filip Kuba.

Tallon replaced Weiss with Barkov, mainly, but also just brought in Scott Gomez on a one-year deal to try and solidify things up the middle. Forwards Joey Crabb  and Bobby Butler and defenseman Matt Gilroy rounded out their haul and that’s not overly inspiring.

Instead, Florida will hope for better luck with injuries so they can get more from Tomas Fleischmann, Sean Bergenheim, and Kris Versteeg. They’ll also be hoping goalie Jacob Markstrom can shake off a tough rookie year on a bad team and evolve into the No. 1 goalie they believe he can be.

Related:

Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series