Dale Tallon is given a lot of credit for building a team in Chicago that is in the Western Conference Final for a second straight year. The Florida Panthers hope he can have the same success.
On Tuesday, Tallon was named the Panthers' general manager, replacing Randy Sexton.
"It is with great pleasure and excitement that I join the Florida Panthers," Tallon said. "I would like to thank Managing Partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel, Alternate Governor Bill Torrey and President/COO Michael Yormark for giving me the opportunity to put my mark on this franchise. I look forward to getting to work and will immediately evaluate our club's framework as we diligently prepare for the upcoming draft and free agency signing period."
Tallon will start that building process with the third pick of the 2010 Entry Draft.
"On behalf of the entire organization, we are thrilled and honored to open a new chapter in Florida Panthers franchise history with the hiring of Dale Tallon as general manager," Viner and Siegel said in a release issued by the team. "Dale brings with him a proven track record and an impressive franchise-building resume that we believe is the perfect fit for the future of the Panthers organization. We thank Randy Sexton for his service to our organization and appreciate his continued support throughout this transition process."
Tallon had spent 33 years with the Blackhawks' organization as a player, broadcaster and front-office executive. He served as GM from 2005 until this past summer, when he was demoted to a senior advisor role after a paperwork error regarding the offering of contracts to a number of restricted free agents.
Sexton was the assistant GM when he replaced Jacques Martin, who had left to coach the Montreal Canadiens. Sexton was given the full-time job hours before the Panthers opened the season in Finland.
Despite not having 30-goal scorer David Booth for more than three months due to a concussion, and losing key offensive piece Nathan Horton for two months with a leg injury, the Panthers seemed to be in good shape on at the end of January, sitting 25-22-9. They finished poorly, however, going 7-15-4 to end the season with the second-fewest points in the Eastern Conference.
"He is what I call an old-fashioned scout -- great eye for talent," Panthers Alternate Governor Bill Torrey told the Florida Sun Sentinel about Tallon. "He loves going to the rink and watching games and assessing players. To be able to add someone with his talent and experience, it's a real plus for the team."
The Panthers have missed the playoffs for eight straight seasons, but that's not far removed from what Tallon inherited when he replaced Bob Pulford as GM in Chicago in 2005.
Prior to his assuming the GM role, the Blackhawks had missed the playoffs six times in seven previous seasons. But Tallon oversaw drafts that landed the team such core players as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane; signed free agents like Brian Campbell and Antti Niemi; and made trades that brought in Patrick Sharp, Ben Eager and Kris Versteeg.
"When things change and people are let go in an organization it's tough to deal with that," Toews said Monday. "You can't really say anything that is going to make them feel any better, so it's great to see Dale get another chance in Florida. I'm really happy for him and I'm sure he'll do a great job. He deserves that second chance."
Team President John McDonough also wished Tallon well in a release issued by the team.
"On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization, I'd like to congratulate Dale Tallon on his new position with the Florida Panthers," he said. "I'm very happy Dale has this opportunity and we wish him well. Additionally, I'd like to thank him for the significant role he played in the development and success of our Hockey Operations."