SUNRISE, Fla. – Dale Tallon’s hands were not on the Stanley Cup during the Chicago Blackhawks’ victory celebration earlier this week.
But, one could argue, his fingerprints were.
Much of the groundwork for Chicago’s run as the NHL’s dominant team – three Cups in six years, in challenging salary-cap times no less – was laid by Tallon when he was the Blackhawks’ general manager.
He’s tried to mimic the same philosophy as Florida’s GM, building through the draft, adding free agents when the time is right and swinging smart deals when opportunities knock.
And with the Panthers set to host next week’s draft, Tallon is convinced that the long-struggling franchise is poised for a breakthrough – soon.
“I don’t know any other way,” Tallon said. “That’s the way I built a team there and that’s the way we’re building a team here. And I think it works. So I feel confident that we’re headed in the right direction because there’s a lot of similarities with what’s happened as far as the drafting and trades.”
Florida has the No. 11 pick in the draft, which starts in the Panthers’ home arena on Friday.
Tallon indicated that the Panthers will try to move up, and there’s signs that some teams at the top of the draft – outside of Edmonton and Buffalo, which will almost certainly take Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel No. 1 and No. 2, respectively – may be willing to hear offers.
“I like to think outside the box,” Tallon said. “You never know what we’re going to do. It’s the fun part of the job, draft day, the things that can and will go on.”
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.