When they brought in coach Joel Quenneville the Florida Panthers thought this would be their year. The Panthers have appeared in 5 playoff seasons since joining the league in the 1993-1994 season. In their 26 seasons in the NHL the Panthers have only made it to the Stanley Cup finals once and have yet to win. Despite Quenneville’s experience once again they were proven wrong. Losing the best of 5 series 1-3 against the New York Islanders the Panthers failed to qualify for the playoffs for the 4th year in a row.
In the wake of the Panthers’ losses they have decided to part ways with general manager Dale Tallon who has been part of the organization for 10 years. Tallon joined the Panthers in May 2010 after winning the Stanley Cup as part of the front office team for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2009-2010 season. His contract was up for renegotiation at the end of this season and the two parties have decided not to make a new agreement.
“For the last decade, Dale raised the team’s profile, attracted key players to South Florida and brought character and class to our franchise,” said Owner & Governor Vincent Viola. “When we purchased the Panthers in 2013, we did so with a singular goal — to win a Stanley Cup. We have not seen our efforts come to fruition. We will now begin an organizational search for the next General Manager.”
– Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) August 10, 2020
Firing the General Manager always comes with uncertainty. Players and staff alike become very used to certain management styles. With Tallon being with the Panthers for 10 years there is no doubt that the players and staff are accustomed to his management style. Whoever the new manager is, they will have to prove themselves quickly in order to gain the trust of the players and staff. This will become increasingly important as Mike Hoffman and Evgeni Dadonov are set to become unrestricted free agents in the 2020-2021 season. Hoffman led the team in goals this season with 29 and acquired 59 points the third best on the team. Dadonov trailed Hoffman slightly with 47 points and 25 goals. Both players will look to increase their salary leaving the new GM a lot of negotiation ahead of them. Not only will the new GM have to show their worth to their new team but also to the other GM’s in the league. Depending on their previous experience they will have to hold their own against other teams GM’s who can be, with no doubt, very intimidating.
Like all of the other teams that were eliminated in the qualifying round of 2020 playoffs the Panthers hoped to get the number 1 draft pick who is likely Alexis Lafrenière. Instead the draft did not go their way and the number 1 pick was given to none other than the New York Rangers. This leaves the Panthers with the 12th pick and a bunch of disappointed fans.
Without the number 1 pick the Panthers will look to improve during the off season and rely on their top players including Alexander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau (forwards), Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle (defencemen) and of course previous Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. Unfortunately Bobrovsky had a slow start this season putting the Panthers season in jeopardy right from the start. The new General Manager will need to create a cup contending team as attendance to Panthers games is one of the lowest in the NHL. Whether or not the parting ways of Dale Tallon and the Panthers organization is justified it is definitely time for a change. The Panthers need something, whether it’s another star, better management, or a new coach, to propel them to a Stanley Cup win next season. Was management the problem? Only time will tell.