Tag: Dale Tallon

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

Report: Panthers, O’Brien talking contract

The Florida Panthers and free agent defenseman Shane O’Brien are in the midst of contract talks according to ESPN’s Katie Strang.

Strang reports that Panthers GM Dale Tallon had discussions with the agent representing O’Brien on Saturday and expects talks to continue Sunday.

O’Brien, 31, was invited to Panthers’ camp on a professional tryout and survived the team’s latest cuts on Friday.

“I feel like I’m part of the team already,” O’Brien told the Florida Sun Sentinel. “So it’d be disappointing if I wasn’t here.”

Originally an eighth-round selection of the Anaheim Ducks in 2003, O’Brien was sent to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League last season by the Calgary Flames.

In 528 career NHL games with the Ducks, Lightning, Canucks, Predators, Avalanche and Flames, O’Brien has 13 goals and 91 points.

O’Brien, who saw his three-year $6 million contract expire in July, didn’t sound too excited at the idea of signing a tw0-way contract.

“I still feel like I’m an NHL player,” said O’Brien. “I feel like I’ve had a good enough camp to be here. I’m a good team guy and fit into the chemistry of this room well. I take pride in playing hard every night and I think I’ve proven that, and will continue to prove that.”

The blue liner could be a consolation prize for the Panthers, who were reportedly in talks to acquire Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks and Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins. Both Boychuk and Leddy were dealt to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

O’Brien has had issues follow him around the NHL. He had weight issues in Vancouver and wasn’t buying what the Flames were selling in Calgary.

Not sure how many chances the Ontario native has left, but Florida could be his new home soon.

Under Pressure: Dale Tallon

Dale Tallon

There’s no question Florida Panthers’ general manager Dale Tallon went out and added some significant pieces to help his budding stars this offseason.

But his time to get this struggling franchise to become a regular playoff contender is quickly running out.

The team’s attendance is at the bottom of the league and the debt is piling up. Tallon is under pressure to turn the ship around in Florida.

Since taking over in May 2010, Tallon has got his club to the playoffs just once, during the 2011-12 season, where they lost in seven games of the first round to the New Jersey Devils.

Tallon is also on his third coach in Florida.

He hired Kevin Dineen prior to the 2011-12 season. Then in November 2013, Tallon replaced Dineen, who led the Panthers to a record 56-62-28 with Peter Horachek. Horachek lasted just 66 games as the team’s interim coach.

On June 21, Tallon appointed his latest bench boss, Gerard Gallant. Gallant’s only other head coaching experience in the NHL was parts of three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2003-06 where he failed to reach the postseason.

Gallant’s track record, though brief, doesn’t really give you confidence if you’re a Panthers fan does it?

Tallon may not be doing much more hiring behind the bench, I mean how many swings and misses does a guy get?

This summer, Tallon signed Shawn Thornton, Dave Bolland and Willie Mitchell – all who have Stanley Cup experience in addition to Jussi Jokinen and Al Montoya. Tallon has to hope the vets mixed with the youngsters proves to be the right chemistry because if his job isn’t on the line at the moment, it certainly will be soon.

Florida finished with just 66 points last season well back of the 93 points Detroit needed to qualify for the second wild card spot. The Panthers play in the Atlantic Division with Boston, Montreal, Tampa Bay and Detroit – it’ll be a tall task for Tallon and Co. to avoid missing the playoffs for a third consecutive year.

Related: Panthers’ power play can only improve next season

Jokinen, Barkov looking forward to reunion in Florida


Jussi Jokinen and Aleksander Barkov got to know one another while helping Finland capture bronze at the 2014 Olympics.

Now the duo hope to bring their chemistry formed in Russia to Florida.

Jokinen signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Panthers on July 1 after spending last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“He will really help Barkov,” general manager Dale Tallon told the Panthers’ website last month. “He’s got a lot of class. He’s a real pro, good skills, can score. He’s got great hockey sense and he really will help Barkov on and off the ice.”

According to Tallon, he didn’t have to do much selling to lure Jokinen, 31, to the Sunshine State.

“He wanted to play here because of Barkov and all the younger players that we have in our system,” said Tallon. “He did his homework. He knew our team inside and out. Was excited to get an opportunity to play with Barkov.

“Getting to know him at the Olympics this year was a big plus.”

Barkov, the Panthers’ first round selection in 2013, was limited to just 54 games last season after suffering a knee injury during the Olympics. Barkov, who turns 19 next month,  scored eight goals and 24 points in his rookie season.

Adding Jokinen will certainly help Barkov take another step in his second year.

“Everyone saw last season how great player Barkov is and will be,” Jokinen told the Panthers’ site last week. “I sat next to him at the Winter Olympics and got to know him little better. I played last year a lot with (Evgeni) Malkin and I see lots of similarities with Barkov and Malkin. Hopefully we have chance to play together and produce.”

Jokinen isn’t the only one who is excited. Barkov told the Panthers last week that Florida’s addition of Jokinen was a “dream come true”.

Despite ownership’s concern over the team’s future in Florida, Jokinen is confident.

“I have lots of faith in the new ownership group, Dale Tallon and the coaching staff,” Jokinen said. “I am confident that this team is going to right direction. To have young guys like Barkov, (Jonathan) Huberdeau, (Aaron) Ekblad, (Erik) Gudbranson, (Nick) Bjugstad and others was a big factor too. They have huge potential to be star players in this league.”

Tallon wouldn’t confirm that Jokinen and Barkov would play on the same line saying line combinations were in coach Gerard Gallant’s hands, but given their history, one would have to believe the pair will reunite at some point this season.

Related: Looking to make the leap: Aaron Ekblad