For about a decade, the Florida Panthers played the role of perennial wallflowers in the NHL (and no, I’m not talking about the pop rock group that featured Bob Dylan’s son). The way I see it, they’ve only been intermittently awful; in most cases, the rats have just been mediocre. In other words, the Florida Panthers were hockey’s answer to nougat.
One thing is for sure, though, new GM Dale Tallon won’t sit idly by while other GMs make waves. He’s making his presence known.
Just look at the Florida Panthers’ feverishly busy draft.
Though there is plenty of focus on the future, the makeover will be apparent as early as the 2010-11 season, considering the fact that Tallon dealt prominent players including Nathan Horton and Keith Ballard. Thanks to a dizzying array of moves, the Panthers ended up with three first-round draft picks, three second rounders and three picks in the fourth to go along with the standard single picks in the third and fifth-to-seventh rounds.
Here is a snapshot of the Tallon’s first six rounds of work, which includes a ridiculous haul of 12 picks. (Click to enlarge, shot via NHL.com)
If there is one trend of the Panthers draft (besides sheer volume), it’s that Tallon focused on big players. His first two picks are listed at 6’4″ and he only picked one guy under six-feet tall (Benjamin Gallacher, at 5’11”). The league rewards speed and skill, but looking at the Dustin Byfugliens and Chris Prongers of the world, it never hurts to have a player who could clear or clog the crease. Tallon apparently received that memo.
Sure, it may take some time for Tallon to work his rags-to-riches magic like he did in Chicago, but it’s clear that the man largely responsible for building the Blackhawks is ready to do it again.