Taylor Hall would’ve been a nice addition for the Florida Panthers but he wouldn’t have solved their glaring issue.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to many, but in case it is, the Florida Panthers’ primary issue is their back end. Defensively speaking, they have a few holes they need to fill which wouldn’t have been addressed had they acquired Taylor Hall.
As nice as Hall would’ve been, the same problem game after game, night after night, would’ve occurred. Sure, he would’ve brought more offense and probably would’ve improved the Panthers’ 5v5 numbers, but he wouldn’t have been able to fix the defensive zone issues that have plagued the Cats for years on end.
Barring a couple of defensemen, the Panthers really struggle to exit their zone, and more importantly, their defensive zone coverage is completely appalling. This all leads to too many defensive breakdowns, which translates to goals given up.
On the flip side, this has a lasting effect on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky – who’s left hanging to dry on plays he just can’t possibly handle. One issue turns into three issues, which prevents the Panthers from winning games in regulation, let alone at all.
It’s true that the Panthers were in the mix for the Hall sweepstakes, according to Pierre LeBrun. Some rumors had them including Henrik Borgstrom and Aleksi Heponiemi in a package, while others had Owen Tippett and Vincent Trocheck thrown in there.
Regardless of which trade proposal may have been true or most accurate, it’s clear that the Panthers made an enticing offer with promising pieces, but it’s obvious that Dale Tallon was reluctant to pull the trigger without an extension put in place.
Seeing that this was the case, good on Tallon for standing his ground strong and not giving in on what could’ve been a rough deal for the Panthers. Imagine giving up quality assets for less than a season’s worth of Hall, with no guarantee that he re-signs.
Had the circumstance been different, maybe, just maybe, Dale would’ve pulled the trigger and brought the offensive juggernaut to South Florida. But even so, it wouldn’t have addressed or solved the glaring issue that has effected Florida greatly these past few seasons.
Instead, Tallon and co. should be exploring every possible angle to bringing in a defenseman who can jump in and play in the top four. That type of player is what’s needed at this current moment if the Panthers are going to navigate their way into a secured playoff spot.
Dangling a short-term piece like Mike Hoffman – who isn’t expected to return next year but can net you a decent top-four defenseman – is what should be done to bring in this said player. Whether it’s picking up the phone and calling to enquire about the price for Brett Pesce, Sami Vatanen, or even Dante Fabbro, something along those lines needs to be done.
You don’t necessarily even have to target any three of those guys, and you could, instead, come up with your own list of defensemen who would fit the bill and style that you’re looking for, but something (just something) needs to be done to address this ever-growing concern.
This isn’t something that should be overlooked for the remainder of the year, let alone ignored with the trade deadline coming up in the new year. Tallon must have urgency, but also needs to keep patient while doing so.
Make no mistake, this isn’t something Florida can just sweep under the rug and hope it never returns. Because believe me, this issue holds the magnitude to decide whether the Panthers get back into the playoffs or miss it for the fourth consecutive time.
Time will only tell if Tallon will decide to take matters into his own hands and find a way to get creative with his current cap structure to try and lure in a piece to help the Panthers. Currently speaking, they remain afloat, but who knows what their standing could be tomorrow or by the new year.
The Panthers don’t have any more time to waste, and they certainly don’t have any more seasons to blow, either. The time to jump over the hurdle and into the playoffs is now given the personnel and pieces that were brought in over the summer. Now the Cats only need the final touches to round out this roster to make them go from a semi-decent team to a consistently good team that can make some noise in the playoffs.
There’s still some time remaining to tackle the blue line and bring in another piece before the trade deadline hits. It’s up to Dale Tallon on whether or not he decides to make this happen/work.
Only he can do it, so the timer starts now, Dale. You got less than three months to bring something back. Ready, set, go!