So much commotion has been thrown at all the new acquisitions Dale Tallon made over the offseason that sometimes people forget about those that were here last season. Mike Weaver, Jason Garrison, Dmitry Kulikov, Jack Skille and Shawn Matthias are 5 of the few players that Dale Tallon kept here in South Florida.
I know much talk and excitement has been brought up about how Dale Tallon acquired: Brian Campbell, Ed Jovanovski, Kris Versteeg and Scottie Upshall, to name a few, but what sometimes people don’t talk about is that it’s more than just about the newly acquired, it’s about those that Dale trusted would play a key role on this team.
Jason Garrison and Mike Weaver were pretty much the most reliable tandem of defenders we had last season. Personally I think Jason Garrison is a beast when he’s out on the ice. He hardly ever makes mistakes and he is very smart out there on the ice. I see Jason playing a huge part for this organization for many years to come. Mike Weaver may not be the tallest, but he’s got the biggest heart. Night in and night out, Mike Weaver is constantly butting heads with players 6 inches to a foot taller than him, but that doesn’t slow him down. He knows how to do his job, and that’s defend and keep the puck from reaching the goaltender.
Last season, Jack Skillewas traded to Florida in part of the Michael Frolik trade. At first, we didn’t know what to expect and personally I thought Dale made a mistake getting rid of Frolik for Skille. It’s crazy how much Jack Skille has improved this year. He has great speed, great physicality and great determination to win the puck every time. He’s a hard nose player and will bring it every night. He also looks very comfortable being out on the ice with Sean Bergenheim and Marcel Goc. Shawn Matthias is another player that was brought over here via trade a couple years ago. Many thought he’d be a top line guy that would score many goals, but this year he is being used as a 4th line winger. Thus far, Shawn Matthias has shown that he’s grown a lot, and is greatly improving in his strength and physicality. It looks like he finally learned how to use his 6’3″ body to lay out some big hits.
Lastly, we have Dmitry Kulikov. Dmitry Kulikov has shown signs of immaturity but also times of great strength and ability. Dmitry plays a huge part in the power-play and many fans are expecting him to have a breakout season this year. After scoring 6 goals and having 20 assists last season, many fans hope he can reach that double digit goal tally this season, something that hasn’t been done since the 2008-2009 season when Bryan McCabe and Jay Bouwmeester each had 15. At the age of 20 and already having 144 NHL games under his belt, expect Dmitry Kulikov to have much more knowledge on the ice, which can hopefully translate into solid defense and goals while on the power-play with Brian Campbell.
Overall these 5 specific players were kept here for a reason. Dale Tallon believes in them, and they’re just as important as those that were just brought here this season. Let’s just hope that they continue to gel and build the chemistry amongst each other.
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Topics: Brian Campbell, Bryan Mccabe, Dale Tallon, Dmitry Kulikov, Ed Jovanovski, Florida Panthers, Jack Skille, Jason Garrison, Jay Bouwmeester, Kris Versteeg, Marcel Goc, Mike Weaver, Scottie Upshall, Sean Bergenheim, Shawn Matthias