As Tallon Moves On, The Panthers Look to Return to the “Top”

It’s the end of an era for the Florida Panthers, and hopefully the beginning of an even better one.

Longtime general manager Dale Tallon announced last Monday that he is leaving the team, after a decade.

His contract to serve as the organization’s manager president of hockey operations ran out at the beginning of last month.

However, team owner Vincent Viola extended it, to allow the Panthers to finish up the season.

Apparently, the decision to dump Tallon became final when the New York Islanders ended Florida’s playoff hopes on Friday, after four games.

The team says they and Tallon decided together that it was in everyone’s best interest to part ways.

“For the last decade, Dale raised the team’s profile, attracted key players to South Florida and brought character and class to our franchise,” Viola said in announcing the change. “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.”

The change happened just as the NHL announced its first round of playoff matchups and as the draft lottery was set to start.

“I would like to thank the South Florida fans and community for the last 10 years, and the Viola family for the last seven with this franchise,” stated Tallon.

He went on to say, “I have had the opportunity to work with a group of first-class individuals, including a mentor of mine, the late William A. Torrey and I’ve had the privilege of watching the development of the organization’s young talent who have become great players and even better people.”

According to The South Florida Sun Sentinel, the team could look outside its own ranks for a new leader.

That’s because senior vice president of hockey operations and assistant general manager Eric Joyce may continue to manage the Panthers’ AHL team.

In addition, Goalie Roberto Luongo should remain with the team, the newspaper explains.

He served as special advisor to Tallon over the past year, but is not expected to be going for the top job.

During Tallon’s tenure, the Panthers advanced to the postseason three times. Still, the only time they’ve reached the Stanley Cup Final was back in 1996.

Hopefully the Panthers choose a new manager who can take them all the way. A 25th Anniversary return to the Finals would be nice.

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