Unless you live under the Florida Turnpike (and apologies if you do) you know that Monday was a day of change, as the Florida Panthers proved that they were in full sell mode for the balance of the season. Four trades on Monday saw the Panthers relieve themselves of players whose salaries, and whose services were either no longer needed, or wanted more by someone else.
This is the first time in years that a General Manager has backed up the truck and dumped the parts and pieces that didn’t fit into the future. It had to be done. Face it, what Dale Tallon did Monday proved that he’s going to do this his way. Not yours, not mine or anyone else’s. It was obvious that no one was in his way either from an organizational standpoint. That alone was refreshing, as in the past there have been moments when either a general manager was afraid, unwilling, or was stopped from making deals.
I’m not going to sit here and rehash the moves or non moves of Dale’s predecessors. It really no longer serves any purpose and I won’t get into a debate about what I agreed with or did not agree with during those tenure’s. Well ok, the contract for Rostislav Olesz given to him by Uncle Jack is a little ridiculous, but we just have to deal with it. Somehow. Oh, yea and thanks for the return on Jay Bouwmeester guys. That was a real swell move. But I digress.
The Panthers now have 10 draft picks lined up in this summer’s entry draft. Seven picks within the first three rounds. They also have shed themselves of some big contracts for players that were either overvalued or not part of the overall future of this club. Dale Tallon saw this as his best opportunity to start almost completely from ground zero this offseason.
There will be money that needs to be spent. That’s a good thing as the Panthers will have to attract players here and pay for them. While the free agent crop isn’t the greatest with Brad Richards being one of the top players available, there are enough players who can come in here for two to four years depending on age, that can help the rebuild. Players that can help guide the youngsters that are developing in the minor leagues, and juniors. Players that are also hitting their prime and want to be with an organization that is on the way up. Players that have skill, grit and character. Players that will finally make this team tough to play against.
I fully expect to see Erik Gudbranson and Keaton Ellerby on next years roster. I also expect to see Mike Santorelli and Marty Reasoner resigned. Need a captain, Jaime Langenbrunner is a free agent. Need a center, Brooks Laich will be available. A left wing? How about Ville Leino. Right wing, Milan Heduk and David Jones from Colorado are free agents. And possibly the golden nugget in all of this, Curtis Glencross. A gritty hardworking left wing that can play solid minutes on your third line, second if you need him, and kills penalties. Dale I want you to go hard after this guy! And this is just the offence.
As for goaltending, honestly give Tomas Vokoun the hometown discount and a slightly improved defence with forwards that are willing to come back and backcheck, and I will bet you he’s refreshed and rejuvenated.
You may not like the returns that Dale got back on Monday. I don’t think he cares what we like. And you know what? That’s great. I want a general manager and a coach for that matter that does what he wants. Not what the public wants. I have seen that happen before in a town I used to live in, both when I lived there and after I moved.
It’s going to be a fun summer!
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