The Panthers will have a new general manager next season after the team and Dale Tallon came to a “mutual agreement” to part ways.
“For the last decade, Dale raised the team’s profile, attracted key players to South Florida and brought character and class to our franchise,” said Panthers owner and Governor Vincent Viola. “When we purchased the Panthers in 2013, we did so with a singular goal-to win a Stanley Cup. We have not seen our efforts come to fruition. We will now begin an organizational search for the next General Manager.”
Tallon was hired as GM in May 2010 and watched the teams he built make the postseason three times. Two of those playoff appearances were ended by the Islanders, including last week’s defeat in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. After a year in an executive position, he came back as GM in 2017 following an organizational shakeup.
The playoff berths were few, but the head coaches were plenty. In Tallon’s decade in control he went through seven coaches, starting with Peter DeBoer and finishing with Joel Quenneville.
Monday night brings a bit of hope for the franchise’s future. Their loss in the Qualifying Round means they are one of eight teams with a 12.5% chance at landing the No. 1 overall draft pick and top prospect Alexis Lafreniere. The prospect pool could use a few more pieces. Under Tallon, the Panthers have drafted the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau (2011, No. 3), Vincent Trochek (2011, No. 64 – dealt in February), Aleksander Barkov (2013, No. 2), and Aaron Ekblad (2014, No. 1). Zach Hyman and Joonas Donskoi were also Florida picks, but they never ended up playing for the franchise.
Free agency was a different issue for Tallon, and one of his final signings could hinder the franchise for the next decade. Sergei Bobrovsky, 31, signed a 10-year, $70M free agent contract last summer. The move filled a hole on the roster, but with the salary cap not rising any time soon, that cap hit will hurt them as the netminder’s production trends downward.
Since the 2020-21 NHL season won’t begin until Dec. 1 at the earliest, Viola and team president Matthew Caldwell will have plenty of time to conduct a broad search for Tallon’s successor.