‘We want to put the best team out there,’ says Panthers GM after flurry of trades

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Dale Tallon admitted the Florida Panthers “dipped our toe in the water” when it came to the Andrew Ladd sweepstakes but ultimately the asking price was too high.

In the end, Ladd landed in Chicago.

That said, the Panthers general manager believes he made important additions to his team with a trio of trades Saturday, as Florida looks to solidify a playoff spot, acquiring forwards Jiri Hudler from Calgary and Teddy Purcell from Edmonton, and defenseman Jakub Kindl from Detroit.

The framework for these deals, said Tallon in a conference call, had been laid out a couple of days ago.

“We identified that … on the blue line, we needed a presence on the power play. We wanted experience. We wanted a good puck-moving defenseman,” Tallon said.

“We also felt we needed to give ourselves three really good scoring lines and Jiri — I’ve watched him closely in Detroit and Calgary — and he had a magnificent year last year. (Hudler and Purcell) are really good, smart, two-way hockey players that make other guys around them better. It gives us three wonderful scoring lines and a fourth line that will be invigorated and (have) an opportunity to play a real aggressive, forechecking style.

“So it gives us depth in all positions and it gives coaches an opportunity to have different looks on the power play and different looks for the other teams to match up against.”

The Panthers are atop the Atlantic Division, but they still have Quinton Howden, Jonathan Huberdeau, Brandon Pirri and defenseman Willie Mitchell all on the injured reserve list.

Tallon said the injuries up front didn’t force him to make those deals, but he did mention that adding depth on the blue line was important with Mitchell out.

He also heaped praise on Panthers ownership — Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu — for giving him the go-ahead to make this plethora of trades in order to improve Florida’s roster heading into the stretch.

“That makes it much more easy and more enjoyable and gives us that opportunity,” said Tallon.

“It shows their commitment and it makes easier to get deals done when you have that backing from ownership.”

As for Monday’s trade deadline, Tallon left the door open to the possibility of more moves.

“Who says we’re done?” he said.

“We want to win and we want to put the best team out there and we’ll see what goes on here in the next day and a half.”


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