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PANTHERS NOTEBOOK: Tallon ready to hit free agents next week ... John Madden returning as assistant

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Panthers were quiet at this draft after much speculation Dale Tallon would be as busy as any general manager in the building.
Florida's lone trade of the week was the minor third-round swap with the Islanders.
Tallon shopped the first overall pick but kept it and took
top-rated defenseman Aaron Ekblad on Friday night.
"The timing wasn't right for trades,'' Tallon said. "With being able to talk to free agents and the draft, you didn't have time to get to the meat of the matter. It made it a little difficult to get conversations about a deal.''
For Tallon, his focus turns away from the amateur players and toward pending free agents. Tallon said he's looking for a couple defensemen and forwards.
This year, teams were allowed to talk to free agents before the signing period begins at noon Tuesday.
-- Tallon said Florida has made qualifying offers to most of its restricted free agents including defensemen Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson.
Florida didn't offer Steven Anthony, Matthias Lindstrom, Anthony Luciani and Jonathan Hazen.
-- John Madden will return to the Panthers as an assistant coach next season under new head coach Gerard Gallant.
Madden, who won three Stanley Cups as a center with New Jersey and Chicago, was in his first year as a pro scout when he was asked to join Peter Horachek's staff when Kevin Dineen was fired in November.
Tallon said Brian Skrudland, who was also on Horachek's staff, could return as well.
Skrudland has a year left on his contract and could go back to being Florida's director of player development.
"We have a few names,'' Tallon said. "We'll get it all done.''

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