Getty Images

Panthers ready to welcome Mike Hoffman, fiancee with ‘clean slate’

2 Comments

When Dale Tallon was contacted by Pierre Dorion last week about potential interest in Mike Hoffman, the Florida Panthers general manager thought the asking price from the Ottawa Senators GM was a bit high. He put that conversation to the side until he was contacted Monday night by Doug Wilson of the San Jose Sharks. Then a deal was made.

It was a wild Tuesday morning that saw Hoffman traded twice in the span of a few hours. He first went from Ottawa to the Sharks and then was later flipped to the Panthers.

“We felt this would be a perfect fit for our team,” Tallon said on a conference call Tuesday morning. “He’s 28, he can score, he can skate, he’s got a cannon for a shot.”

Hoffman, who played with Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau for one year with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, has scored 104 goals over the last four seasons and was the type of player Tallon was looking to add to his lineup to potentially play alongside Vincent Trocheck.

“Our power play will be better, too. He’s got a great one-timer, great shot,” Tallon said.

[Sharks flip Hoffman to Panthers]

Dorion was seeking players in a return, presumably so the team could stay above the salary cap floor for next season with more trades likely on the way (Karlsson, Bobby Ryan?). Wilson, however, was merely looking for draft picks for Hoffman as he’s been clearing cap space with many believing he’ll go strong after Ilya Kovalchuk and John Tavares.

By acquiring Hoffman, that comes with the questions about last week’s allegations about his fiancee cyberbullying Erik and Melinda Karlsson. 

Tallon said he spoke with some of his players and staff and “had no pushback at all” when it came to bringing Hoffman and his fiancee, Monika Caryk, into the Panthers family. “I trust my guys. I trust my staff,” he said.

He also spoke with Hoffman directly and Tallon noted he has a good relationship with the player’s agent, former NHLer Mike Liut. He feels confident that Hoffman and Caryk will be embraced by the team and by the Panthers’ wives and girlfriends.

“Together, we discussed that what happened there is in the past and we’re moving forward with a clean slate,” Tallon said.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Looking to make the leap: Lawson Crouse

5 Comments

Hey, when you’re huge, you don’t need to make as much of a leap.

Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon didn’t do the usual hemming and hawing you’d expect when talking up Lawson Crouse, the 11th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft. Instead, he threw down the gauntlet after signing the sizable young prospect to an entry-level contract in July.

“He was one of our best players in development camp and we are confident he can make an immediate impact on our roster, playing on one of our top lines,” Tallon said via a Panthers release.

It’s not just Tallon pumping him up, either, as head coach Gerard Galland said that Crouse “will be given every opportunity to earn a top-six forward position on our roster during training camp.”

That’s quite the accelerated outlook for a towering 18-year-old (listed at 6-foot-4, 215 lbs) whose offense seemingly came up short at times; Crouse managed just 51 points in 56 games at the OHL level in 2014-15.

Such modest production would leave the impression that the Panthers might be wise to allow Crouse to marinate at the junior level for at least a little while, yet it sounds like the organization thinks he’s on the right track. Florida might be growing a touch impatient with the slow-and-steady approach, and one can also imagine that they see an “NHL body” in Crouse.

Of course, it’s not as if the Panthers are committed to a decision yet. They can change their mind during training camp or even through a few regular season contests and decide to let him develop at a slower pace with no harm done.

All disclaimers aside, it sounds like he’ll get a real chance to make the roster right out of the draft.

Want to know more about Crouse? Check out this profile.

Panthers re-sign Jagr to a one-year deal

21 Comments

The Florida Panthers have re-signed Jaromir Jagr to a one-year contract the club announced.

In 20 games with the Panthers this season Jagr had six goals and 18 points.

“Once he got here and he saw the talent, he’s really on board and he’s really excited,” said GM Dale Tallon.

The 43-year-old had a 11 goals and 29 points in 57 games with the New Jersey Devils prior to being dealt.

Florida finished the season last in attendance averaging 11,265 a night.

“Lets change it,” he said via George Richards of the Miami Herald. “I think people started realizing… they can see it when you watch TV, it’s a different team, a different Florida Panthers. Young guys with a lot of talent and speed and they can beat anybody.

“(The fans) are going to come. It’s just a matter of time. If we play good, if we start winning, they’re going to come. I hope they come and I wish they come.”

Jagr also shed light on just how bad Nick Bjugstad’s back injury was. Bjugstad underwent successful surgery in March.

“He was sitting next to me and when he tied his skates, he was on his knees,” said Jagr. “I thought ‘what’s going on here?’ I’d never seen anything like that. Then I found out he’s injured so he couldn’t even bend, he couldn’t tie his skates, but he played through that.”

Jagr says he still enjoys the game and knows when he will step away.

“When hockey starts to be my job, I’m not going to play anymore,” he said. “It’s got to be fun for me. I’ve got to love it.”

Panthers sign Kampfer to a two-year contract extension

1 Comment

The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Steven Kampfer to a two-year extension the club announced on Saturday.

The 26-year-old was on a one-year, $550,000 deal and set to become a restricted free agent after this season.

Florida acquired Kampfer along with Andrew Yogan from the New York Rangers for Joey Crabb in October.

“Since we acquired Steven in October, he has been a welcome addition to our organization,” said Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon. “He has worked extremely hard since his recall and has fit very well into our line-up, contributing both offensively and defensively.

“Steven is most deserving of this contract extension and we look forward to his continued contributions to our club.”

Kampfer has a goal and three helpers to go along with a minus-3 rating while averaging 17:58 in ice time in 18 games with the Panthers this season.

He has also appeared in 42 AHL games with the San Antonio Rampage registering eight goals and 19 points.

Report: Panthers, O’Brien talking contract

The Florida Panthers and free agent defenseman Shane O’Brien are in the midst of contract talks according to ESPN’s Katie Strang.

Strang reports that Panthers GM Dale Tallon had discussions with the agent representing O’Brien on Saturday and expects talks to continue Sunday.

O’Brien, 31, was invited to Panthers’ camp on a professional tryout and survived the team’s latest cuts on Friday.

“I feel like I’m part of the team already,” O’Brien told the Florida Sun Sentinel. “So it’d be disappointing if I wasn’t here.”

Originally an eighth-round selection of the Anaheim Ducks in 2003, O’Brien was sent to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League last season by the Calgary Flames.

In 528 career NHL games with the Ducks, Lightning, Canucks, Predators, Avalanche and Flames, O’Brien has 13 goals and 91 points.

O’Brien, who saw his three-year $6 million contract expire in July, didn’t sound too excited at the idea of signing a tw0-way contract.

“I still feel like I’m an NHL player,” said O’Brien. “I feel like I’ve had a good enough camp to be here. I’m a good team guy and fit into the chemistry of this room well. I take pride in playing hard every night and I think I’ve proven that, and will continue to prove that.”

The blue liner could be a consolation prize for the Panthers, who were reportedly in talks to acquire Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks and Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins. Both Boychuk and Leddy were dealt to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

O’Brien has had issues follow him around the NHL. He had weight issues in Vancouver and wasn’t buying what the Flames were selling in Calgary.

Not sure how many chances the Ontario native has left, but Florida could be his new home soon.