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07-22-2010, 01:53 PM
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Mr. Tallon had quite a weekend at the draft and the Florida Panthers are definately looking to head in another direction next season, something that was clear even approaching last season's trade deadline.
I love what Tallon did at the draft. He was very aggressive, got the team as many picks as he could, and got some good value for two of our former players. Of course all GMs, Tallon included, have flaws, but it seems that the Panthers finally have a guy that knows what he is doing, and has his mind set on what he wants to do. While I think it will take another offseason to really see that plan, I think the Panthers might finally be ready to make a name for itself in the NHL.

I'm wondering what you guys are expecting for the upcoming season? Will there be lots of new faces added to the line-up? Will they be going with primarily younger players? Who's expected to come up from within and be part of this team as soon as this fall?
Well the new faces so far are Wideman, Grabner, Bernier, and Higgins. I think Wideman and Ballard are a wash, even though I think Wideman is the better offensive Dman of the two. If he can get back to the season he had two years ago, then that would be a big plus for us.

I think Grabner, Bernier, and Higgins should easily surpass the output of Horton. Grabner is the one we are most excited about, because he is still young, and has a lot of potential. Bernier and Higgins are big question marks, but even them combined could equal Horton's numbers from a year ago. The team has a little more depth now, but its still light at both the forward and D spot.

Some names that should/could make the team are Gudbranson, Repik, and McCardle. The Panthers have Frolik, Weiss, Booth, Grabner, Bernier, Higgins, Dvorak, Olesz, Stillman, Bitz, Matthias, and Taffe on one way deals, so if one of those previously mentioned forwards want to make the squad, a move might have to be made. Gudbranson has a very good shot at making the team, but I think it might be better off to send him back to juniors.

Do the Panthers have a shot at the playoffs?
I dont know. I like that we have more depth, enough where we can actually call up someone, or switch players in and out. I just dont see us having the punch that can get us in. We are once again going to rely on Vokoun to steal games for us. While I think that the overall talent of the team has improved over last season, too many teams have improved in the East this offseason, and I dont think we get in. Besides, Ive been very vocal about how much I would like to see a Couturier, Larsson, or Hopkins here.

I'd be curious to hear how things are looking for a Panthers fan standpoint.
I think the fans should understand that while we are in the terrible playoff drought, there is better times ahead. Im very excited about this teams future, and about what the new ownership and Tallon have done. I think we finally have the right personnel in the right position, and they are finally starting to look like a professional organization.

And one other thing, the LeBron James signing with the Heat is going to be a positive for us Panther fans. The Panthers know that they cant keep putting out this mediocre product, because the other teams in South Florida will take away money from them. They need to get this ship on the right course. In a couple of years, South Florida could be one of the most successful team towns in the country, because a lot of the teams down here seem to be on the rise.

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