What a difference a decade makes. As a matter of fact, what a difference three years makes. As Dale Tallon and the Florida Panthers set to embark on year three of the “Blueprint”, it should be quite noticeable that this rebuild doesn’t look anything at all like what previous management tried to “sell us” on. No offence meant by that comment, however when you have a plan like Dale, and you follow it, results are different. Looking at the quality of players that Tallon and company have, and are acquiring, pales in comparison to many of the carefully hand picked players that have come and gone through South Florida previously.
What was happening in these parts prior to Dale’s arrival, one will never really know, but it’s best that we not try to figure that out. Excluding the Roberto Luongo trade to Vancouver, which no longer needs any analysis, here’s five deals (either trades or signings) that made you want to chew glass then, and make you want to drink now. Why we ever made some of these maneuvers we’ll never know, but the good thing is that we’re able to laugh a little and smile, knowing how good things are now.
* Kevyn Adams. March 13th 2001, Kevyn was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets along with a fourth round draft choice which turned out to be Mike Woodford for Ray Whitney and future considerations. No, this was no joke, but it certainly looked as though ex-Panther head coach Doug MacLean was getting back at us for his firing. Adams who often clashed with head coach Mike Keenan was a non factor for 56 games. Scoring seven times and with 14 assists, Adams was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in a multi-player deal which saw the Panthers acquire defenceman Sandis Ozolinsh and forward Byron Ritchie. Whitney by the way is still playing in the NHL.
* Mikhail Shtalenkov. November 18, 1999 Mikhail and a draft pick was part of a deal with the Phoenix Coyotes as the Panthers sent goaltender Sean Burke and a draft choice as well, in a swap of goaltenders. Shtalenkov played only 15 games for the Panthers before leaving the NHL to play in Russia. He was once quoted as saying he didn’t think he could be a number on goalie in the NHL. Burke went on to play five seasons for Phoenix and won 97 games for the Coyotes before being traded to Philadelphia. Sign.
* Cory Murphy. A 5′ 9″ defenceman who had played in Europe before being signed as a free agent by the Panthers in March of 2007, was supposed to be able to “man” the power play as he did in Europe while playing in Finland. Little did he know, and little did Jacques Martin know that Murphy who despite his size played hard, was severly overmatched by players who were not only bigger, but faster. Martin had this crazy idea that Murphy was going to be the next Brian Rafalski. There was only one Brian Rafalski.
* Chad Kilger. A former first round pick (4th overall) in 1995 chosen by the Anaheim Ducks, Kilger was one of those players that never lived up to the hype. He never came close to his best OHL season, and he ultimately settled into a role player for seven NHL teams. Kilger whom Martin traded for was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs, never suited up for the Panthers. Matter of fact he never showed up. It was rumored that there were some serious personal problems that the forward was going through which was indeed very unfortunate. However I would think that the braintrust would have investigated this before making the trade. The deal cost Florida a third round draft pick, which Toronto traded to St. Louis, who ended up drafting someone by the name of James Livingston. Who also is missing from the NHL.
Ville Koistenen. Signed to a three year deal as a free agent in May of 2006, Koistenen had previously played parts of two seasons with the Nashville Predators putting up relatively decent numbers for the time he played. However for the Panthers he proved to be absolutely useless, dressing for only 17 games in 2009-2010. A knee injury cut his playing time short, and the Panthers ended up buying out his contract, which thankfully came off the books before last season. Koistenen did score this game winning goal in the shootout when the Panthers opened against the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009 at Helsinki.
It’s nice to know that we have moved on from blunders like these. Certainly it’s not possible for every deal that Dale Tallon makes to work out. With his track record and his plan, I’d trust him with my money. Wouldn’t you?
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
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