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Dale Tallon Ninth GM of the Panthers: Randy Sexton Future Unclear

Tallon

BY GEORGE RICHARDS

The Florida Panthers have changed general managers for the third time in a year as Dale Tallon has been hired to replace Randy Sexton.

Tallon, the former general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, will be introduced at a press conference at the team's arena in Sunrise on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Tallon is the ninth general manager in franchise history and seventh since the start of the 2000-01 season.

“It is with great pleasure and excitement that I join the Florida Panthers,” Tallon said in a release. “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 was demoted by the Blackhawks last summer a week after the team mistakingly didn't offer qualifying offers to their restricted free agents by the deadline. Tallon had one year left on his contract with the team. Sexton, who was in Brandon, Manitoba, scouting the Canadian Memorial Cup when told of Tallon's hiring, was not available for comment and it's not known what – if any – role he will play in the organization. Tallon is expected to address that on Tuesday.

Tallon took over as Chicago's general manager in 2005. At the time, the Blackhawks had missed the playoffs in seven of eight years. Since Tallon was hired in Chicago, the Blackhawks advanced to the conference finals twice. Chicago lost to Detroit in the 2009 west finals.

In 2005-06, the Blackhawks finished the season ranked 28th out of 30 clubs with 65 points (the Panthers had 85 that year).

Since then, Tallon drafted All-Stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Tallon also acquired Patrick Sharp (trade with Philadelphia), Kris Versteeg (trade with Boston), Brian Campbell, Marian Hossa, Antti Niemi and John Madden.

The Panthers haven't been to the playoffs in an NHL record-tying nine seasons and record-setting 10 years. Sexton was Florida's assistant general manager under Jacques Martin from 2007-09 and was the team's interim general manager through last summer after Martin left June 1 to become coach of the Montreal Canadiens – who opened the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night in Philadelphia.

Sexton was given the permanent GM job just hours before Florida opened the 2009-10 season on Oct. 2 in Helsinki, Finland. Sexton's press conference in Helsinki was held prior to the Panthers taking on the Blackhawks.

It is not clear what changes Tallon would institute when he takes over the Panthers – and Sexton could remain with the franchise in some capacity although the contract he signed with the team last year is expiring.

Coach Pete DeBoer is signed for at least another year and is expected to return. The Panthers had not commented on DeBoer's status publicly since the offseason started, the thought being they would wait until a new GM was in place. Florida's two bench assistant coaches – Mike Kitchen and Jim Hulton – have expiring contracts.

Tallon brings a wealth of hockey experience to Sunrise. Not only is Tallon an experienced manager, but he was also an accomplished player. In 1970, he was the second overall pick in the draft by the Vancouver Canucks. Tallon spent 10 seasons in the NHL, the two-time All-Star defenseman's career derailed by injuries. Tallon, who also played for the Blackhawks and Penguins, ended his career with 98 goals and 238 assists in 642 games.

After spending time in the broadcasting booth, Tallon was hired by Chicago to be their director of player personnel in 1998 and promoted to assistant GM in 2003. Tallon was named the team's full-time GM in 2005 and he remained there until he was replaced by Stan Bowman a week after the team missed the deadline for sending qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

The players' union filed a grievance against the team and prompted the NHL Players' Association to file a grievance against the team. All of the players – most notably Versteeg – signed with the Blackhawks even though they could have become free agents.

Tallon's work in rebuilding the Blackhawks has not gone unnoticed. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, Tallon received a vote in the recent balloting for the league's GM of the year award – even though he's no longer the team's manager. Washington's George McPhee, Nashville's David Poile and Phoenix's Don Maloney ended up being the three finalists for the award.

South Florida golf courses should also expect to see Tallon teeing it up during his free time. Tallon won the 1969 Canadian Junior championship and spent a few offseasons competing on the Canadian PGA Tour.

Comments

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Graet first mvoe of the offseason!!! I liked Randy, but the team needs a new and SOLID culture change and Sexton just was not enough.

Tallon did a great job in rebuilding the Blackhawks, so it'll be interesting if lightning can strike twice for him.

DeBoer will be next to go.

it is about time, now lets hope that Cliff, Stu and Yormark will let him hire the right scouts and people to build the organization.

Remember that Chicago started picking better when Dudley arrived, so it should be interesting

I hope Tallon brings his own minor league coach in.

Great Hire! A brilliant hockey mind from a great sports town. Now let the housecleaning begin!!!

Awesome Grab.........Pete DB should stay, given the right personnel he can shape this team well. I knew Sexton should go and glad he is no longer GM. He dropped the ball too many times last season for my taste

Likign Connolly and Gudbranson for the draft, he is hoping Dale can get off with a great start at the draft.

What a great grab! I feel like I got an early birthday present. It didn't take him long to build a cup contending team in Chicago. Thanks to everyone who managed to convince him to come here!!!

Very smart hockey mind! Great eye for talent! EXCELLENT pickup for the Panthers!

Tallon is also credited with saddling the Blackhawks with the contracts of Campbell, Huet, and Hossa that have made Huet and Campbell untradeable due to the numbers and length of Campbell's contract. At least its a change in direction. Things will be great, if he can get funding for a real scouting department now.

Thank God!!!! Listening to George on XM now. Excellent move!!!!!!!!

Can't argue with this move. I liked what Sexton did under the circumstances with the team up for sale. Dale Tallon made some nice trades with Chicago, his only obvious mistakes were signing Cristobal Huet and before that Nikolai Khabibulin. Khabibulin had only one good year his final year. But that said he has made some great trades getting Sharp and Versteeg. Not sure what happened with those contracts that weren't mailed that got Tallon fired. Sure happy with Tallon instead of a loser like Doug Risebrough or Doug MacLean.

I hope Yormark doesnt handcuff him..... WE WILL SEE

Agree with Tee Spot. Yormark should stay out of hockey and be invisible to the fans. What a cancer.

Tee... agreed

The carousel continues, whether that's good or bad is yet to be determined. Tallon had both his ups and downs in Chicago, but one thing you have to admire is he wasn't afraid to pull the trigger on big time FAs. Campbell was the premier defenseman on the market that year and would have gotten the $ regardless of where he signed, & Khabby was still considered a top goaltender. Huet = big oops and his botched fax machine-esque deal with the RFAs.

It should be interesting to see where he stands w/Pete DB. I think DB deserves to coach a NHL caliber team & not a glorified AHL team before talks about him getting canned. I bet Tallon won't hesitate to trade guys like Horton, Weiss, etc., since he has no affiliation to them and start anew.

And so it begins...

With no affiliation to any player here, it's full evaluation and no hesitation. Be aware, Dale is not afraid to make a move and he will.
I would bet that at least one if not two Blackhawks find there way here, provided he can move one of the Panthers. Or use a draft pick or two.

Vokoun could be out, then that opens the door for Huet possbily to come here. Not that's what I want, but, it could happen.
It will be interesting summer for sure.

Great move by the Panthers. Finally!

This hire is meaningless unless this ownership keeps Michael "have urinal logo, will travel" Yormark outta the personel aspect of the club.


Persoanlly, I hope DeBoer stays, I like his approach.

Tallon brings some much needed accountability. Good eye for talent. Get him a good assistant so there are no mistakes with fax machines and RFAs.

Though, Huet was a bad signing but he was on a hot streak in Washington the year before. Not sure how he went so downhill in Chicago.

going to be and interesting summer for sure ! i hope he gets rid of stillman mccabe kreps campbell and keeps matthias in the ahl and ring up repik

at least he is willing to take chances, instead of afraid to pull the trigger JM and Sexton.

He also knows the value of trading a player when is value is maximized instead of minimized like the last few GMs we have had.

great move. shocking.

Agreed, the guy takes risks - sometimes it pays off (Campbell), sometimes it doesn't (Huet), but it's not like he signed Alex Daigle, both Huet and Khabby were good players when they were signed.

According to the other Panther's reporter Q & A with Tallon, who awakens from hibernation every few weeks, it looked to me like DeBoer stays put. Why would Tallon say he needs to give Pete the right pieces if he planned on canning him?

I posted a few weeks ago that it doesn't matter who the GM is unless he is allowed to run the hockey side and have the proper budget and people in place.

the panthers web site has already removed Randy Sexton and put in Dale Tallon and believe it or not this is the last paragraph of his bio:

"Sunrise Sports & Entertainment is the premier company of its kind in South Florida. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. Home to more than 200 events annually and the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, the BankAtlantic Center welcomes more than two million guests each year."

If you are going to cut and paste a press release onto your web site for a bio at least do it the right way.

Sexton is not mentioned at all in hockey operations.

Please let Mr. Tallon build the organization the right way from the director of player development to the scouts and the affiliates.

Mr. Yormark, stay out of hockey operations and lets see what happens when you let hockey people operate the team instead of tying their hands

I am excited about Panthers hockey ?? time to start drinking the kool-aid again.

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