Panthers want to acquire goalscorer by deadline, says Tallon

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Florida’s right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but sitting 21st in the league in goals per game.

So it’s no surprise to learn that GM Dale Tallon wants to add a sniper.

“That would be a priority, obviously — somebody that can score goals,” Tallon told Fox Sports Florida on Thursday night. “Our defensive play has been very solid, and we just have to score a few more goals in situations in the right time of a game.

“That’s what we’re lacking a little bit, and that’ll come. But we’re looking for that.”

It’s easy to see why Tallon would like another scorer.

Florida’s 72 goals this year have largely come by committee — the team doesn’t have any double-digit marksmen, but eight players at with least six goals: Jaromir Jagr, Vincent Trocheck, Reilly Smith, Nick Bjugstad, Jussi Jokinen, Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Pirri.

So, who to add?

One name to keep an eye on could be Vancouver forward Radim Vrbata. The two-time 30-goal scorer is a pending UFA and has ties to Tallon, as the two spent time together in Chicago.

Tallon, then the ‘Hawks GM, first traded to get Vrbata out of Carolina, then signed him to a two-year extension.

As for Tallon’s ability to make a move — well, there doesn’t appear to be many impediments.

He has the full backing of ownership and a history of bold moves on his resume. Two years ago, he made the blockbuster deal to get Roberto Luongo from Vancouver and, at last year’s deadline, acquired Jagr from New Jersey.

Now, he sure sounds like a guy that’s prepared to make another acquisition.

“We’re always looking to better ourselves, and we’re getting more and more assets — and they’re not all going to play for us, because there’s not enough room,” Tallon explained. “If we can maybe package a couple of those to get the right piece that, long term, will help us and really help us in the playoff run and get us deep into the playoffs, then we’ll look at it.”