One of the things that Dale Tallon said when he became GM of the Florida Panthers was that he wanted guys who were bigger, stronger and skilled. Looking down the middle of the Panthers lineup I would say that this is not exactly what he had in mind.
The Panthers rely on guys like David Booth Steven Weiss and Michael Frolik. The problem is that even though these guys are individually skilled they do not have that size and grit that Tallon is looking for, we don’t see them laying the hit in addition to scoring. The philosophy used to be in the NHL that you had different lines for different functions. You had your scoring line, your checking line, your speed line to get the puck up ice and then you had a line that could just go out and play defensively, if you had two scoring lines you were doing pretty good for yourself. However, this mentality has changed in the new NHL, now your top offensive guys need to be able to get physical as well, they have to grind in the corners, especially in a dump and chase system, and you have to be able to take big hits.
Back in the day if a guy was six-foot-two, weighed 210 pounds he was considered one of the “big guys” on the team, but in today’s National Hockey League, that’s average-sized at best with giants such as 245-pound Dustin Penner or the million foot tall Chara in Boston.
As guys get bigger and stronger and combine those attributes with good hands and hockey sense the better they get. This model is what Dale Tallon is looking to bring to this team.
Honestly, I can’t wait till the day that we have these types of players on our team, creating hard hitting games with lots of passion, combined with skill and speed. Lets hope that Tallon can start shaping this team into his image soon so we can see the playoffs again in South Florida.
(There is some hidden fun if you click the image above)
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