TORONTO -- There are many advantages to being the general manager of the Florida Panthers. For Dale Tallon, who has held that position since May 2010, one of his favorites is getting to meet some of the top draft prospects at the NHL Scouting Combine.
"One of the great perks of this job is getting to meet all the young kids and see how they handle this pressure," Tallon told NHL.com. "It's not easy coming into meetings at this age. I don't know if when I was 17 or 18, I certainly wasn't capable of doing this. It's great to see the maturity process and the development of these young people. Every year seems to get better and better."
The Panthers won the NHL Draft Lottery and hold the No. 1 pick, but Tallon said he's open to moving the selection if the right trade came along.
Whatever the team ends up doing, Tallon said he doesn't feel the need to rush whatever player the team gets into the lineup immediately. The Panthers were No. 29 in the League standings last season, but part of that was because of so many young players in key roles in the lineup. Among them were leading scorer Nick Bjugstad, 21,who was part of Tallon's first draft class with the Panthers.
"It's a bonus if a guy comes in and plays right away," Tallon said. "You never really count on it. If it happens, great. It's a marathon for us. We're in a developmental phase right now. We're just starting to see the trickle-down effect of our drafts the last four years. We're eager to see them develop obviously. We need some help quickly but we're not going to rush anyone if they're not ready."