Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is a guy who is never afraid to make a deal, but he may not be so eager to do that at the trade deadline this season.
George Richards of the Miami Herald heard from Tallon about a host of topics concerning the 15th place team in the Eastern Conference.
Tallon said he’s not ready to sell at the March 5 deadline just yet despite the team being 13 points back of the final wild card spot for the postseason. He said players like Brad Boyes, Tim Thomas, Jesse Winchester, and Tom Gilbert (who are all due to be free agents this summer) could come back next season. All of them would be attractive to teams looking to add a piece for a playoff run, however.
Speaking of Thomas, Tallon says the two have discussed him sticking around for another year. Tallon added emphatically that Thomas “absolutely” has a place there past this season. Both he and Scott Clemmensen are due to become free agents this summer and prospect Jacob Markstrom is biding his time in the minors.
Tallon says he would like to speak with soon-to-be restricted free agent defenseman Dmitry Kulikov about an extension but talks haven’t begun. He hopes to reach out to his agent soon to get things going there.
The Chicago Blackhawks are bringing back a familiar face after doing business with a familiar partner.
The Blackhawks acquired forward Kris Versteeg and prospect forward Philippe Lefebvre from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Jimmy Hayes and defenseman Dylan Olsen. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports the Panthers will keep half of Versteeg’s salary as part of the deal.
Versteeg was a member of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-winning team in 2010, but was traded after the season to Toronto in a package deal to get Viktor Stalberg. Since then, he’s gone from the Maple Leafs to the Philadelphia Flyers to the Panthers where he’s played the past two seasons.
In his time with Florida, Versteeg has scored 25 goals (99 games). He scored 20 in his final season with the ‘Hawks.
The connection on this deal is a familiar one as ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman and Panthers GM Dale Tallon know each other all too well. Tallon, of course, is the former Blackhawks GM who was fired in favor of Bowman.
The two players the Panthers acquired have played in the AHL for most of the season. Hayes appeared in two games with Chicago this season before spending the rest of his time in Rockford. Lefebvre, meanwhile, is currently in the ECHL.
Think the Blackhawks were prepared for this deal? They’ve already tweeted out his new-old uniform.
Florida’s goaltending situation would seem to be settled with Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen. That news doesn’t bode well for last year’s No. 1 guy Jose Theodore.
Theodore spoke with Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel and said things aren’t going great to return to Florida this season.
“The Panthers are still my No. 1 choice. I don’t know if the door is closed, but there’s been no discussions,” Theodore said. “Training camp is still a month away, so I’m not ready to think about [retirement].
For what it’s worth, Theodore is keeping a positive outlook on things comparing this to when he seemingly, out of the blue, signed with the Minnesota Wild in 2010. That said, if he’s banking on staying in Sunrise with the Panthers, he might be waiting a long time for a phone call.
GM Dale Tallon has essentially said they’re moving ahead with Markstrom as their top guy and with Clemmensen still there to provide relief, they’re not in any hurry to overcrowd the crease. Even with questions about whether Markstrom can live up to the hype, Theodore might want to consider locations other than South Beach.
For the past two summers, rumors swirled around the Florida Panthers concerning their interest in Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. For the past two summers, the Panthers never made a move. The reason? 23 year-old goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom was the organization’s top prospect for years before getting thrown into the starting job last season when Jose Theodore’s season was ended by injury. GM Dale Tallon has been Markstrom’s biggest fan and has made it clear he wants to stick by him.
It hasn’t been easy for him so far as a pro. Last season after a particularly brutal 7-1 loss to Washington, Markstrom was called out by coach Kevin Dineen. Last year’s Panthers were the worst team in the league so you can hang many of the troubles he had on that.
Two seasons ago when he got his first real taste of NHL action, he did well, stats-wise, in seven games. While he went just 2-4-1 he put up a .925 save percentage and a 2.66 goals-against average. The former number will put you in the top-ten amongst goalies most seasons.
The question the Panthers have to ask themselves here is: Which guy is the real Markstrom? The kid from two seasons showed a lot of the reasons why they’ve stayed out of the Luongo fray.
If he turns out to be more like the player we saw last season, however, perhaps Tallon might want to keep Mike Gillis’ phone number handy just in case.
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.