Tag: Dale Tallon

Steve Yzerman

Report: Lightning made best offer for Panthers’ top pick


We’d heard all about how Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon was listening intently for offers on the first overall pick at the 2014 Draft. What we didn’t know was who was in talks with him to move up.

According to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, the team that made the most aggressive push to deal with the Panthers were their in-state rival the Tampa Bay Lightning.

LeBrun said both Philadelphia and Vancouver made strong pitches, but it was Steve Yzerman who made Tallon think the most about dealing. Tallon ultimately kept the pick and selected Aaron Ekblad. You have to think that’s who Yzerman was aiming to take as well.

While Lightning-Panthers doesn’t stand out as as big a rivalry as Rangers-Islanders or Bruins-Canadiens, they’re still rivals and are also divisional foes. You have to imagine Tallon wasn’t too keen on making a deal with a team he sees so often and competes in the same state.

Still, you have to wonder just what did Yzerman offer up for the selection.

Pick of the litter: Panthers hire Gerard Gallant as coach

Gerard Gallant

The Florida Panthers have found their man to lead the team.

The team announced they’ve hired Gerard Gallant to be the new head coach. He was an assistant coach for Michel Therrien with the Montreal Canadiens the past two seasons and is a former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach.

Panthers GM Dale Tallon had glowing words for Gallant in the team’s press release.

“We are pleased to welcome Gerard as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers,” said Tallon. “He is an individual with tremendous character, integrity and a strong passion for the game and has experience as an NHL head coach. Gerard is an excellent teacher and motivator who possesses the leadership qualities and hockey knowledge that are necessary to lead our team.”

The Panthers chose Gallant out of a field of hopefuls that included recent Carolina Hurricanes hire Bill Peters, former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, and former Stanley Cup winner Marc Crawford among others. Crawford just verbally agreed to return to his job in Switzerland.

Gallant has a lot of experience behind the bench as both an assistant and a head coach.

He worked as an assistant for three seasons in Columbus before ascending to the top job for parts of three more seasons. He’s also been an assistant with the New York Islanders as well as the Habs.

More importantly for the current Panthers roster, he was head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and led them to back-to-back Memorial Cup titles. His best player on those teams? Panthers young stud forward Jonathan Huberdeau.

Gallant has a very young roster to work with in Florida headed up by Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, and Erik Gudbranson. He’ll have his hands full in getting this green team together and trying to get back to the playoffs.

The team will formally introduce Gallant at a press conference on Monday.

Panthers GM Tallon: ‘It’s a better draft than we thought’

Dale Tallon

Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon will have some tough decisions to make on draft day. One of those choices will be what to do with the No. 1 overall pick. One thing he may not have counted on was the quality of talent available this year.

Harvey Fialkov of The Sun Sentinel shares Tallon’s thoughts on this year’s draft class and he’s a bit surprised at how good it appears to be.

“A lot of them are NHL-ready,” Tallon said. “It’s a better draft than we thought based on what we saw in the spring. There’s a lot of good players in the first round and we should get two good players [at No. 1] and at 32. It’s exciting; we’ll do well.”

While Tallon talks about getting two good players with their picks, he’s been fielding calls for the first overall selection and may deal out of that spot or trade down twice to maximize a return. He’s made no bones about shopping the pick around even though they really like defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

Tallon talking up the talent level of the draft could be a sly means to get a few more teams calling them about deals. As if having the first pick overall wouldn’t be enough to do that already, the Panthers are poised to be very active in Philadelphia.