If Dale Tallon
transforms the Florida Panthers
from an also-ran into a championship team the same way he did with the Chicago Blackhawks
, it's going to start by laying a foundation of good, young talent on which to build.
The quick-drying cement in that metaphor will be defenseman Erik Gudbranson
, the third pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, and goaltender Jacob Markstrom
, the first pick in the second round of the 2008 Draft whom Tallon signed to an entry-level deal June 1.
Gudbranson has a chance to break camp with the Panthers, while Markstrom could step into the breach once Tomas Vokoun
's contract expires after this season. The bulk of any NHL success Gudbranson, 18, and Markstrom, 20, will experience probably remains a few years down the road.
It's one thing for experts and talking heads to sing the praises of Tallon for his work in Chicago and talk about how it can happen again now that he's the GM in Florida. It's another to hear it from the players themselves, who genuinely are excited about the future in the Sunshine State with Tallon at the helm.