How Dale Tallon can rebuild Panthers 

March, 30, 2011

Dale TallonAP Photo/J Pat CarterTallon can rebuild the Florida Panthers if he hits home runs in the top 5 of the NHL draft.
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon has rebuilt a team before.

As GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, he traded for Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg; he drafted Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Niklas Hjalmarsson; he signed Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa. And, ultimately, those players were the core of a team that won the Stanley Cup last season.

So he can do it again, right?

Yes, but not in the way that you think.

Thus far in Florida, Tallon has cleaned house and left a plethora of draft picks in his pocket. Last year, he had six selections in the top 50 picks -- including three first-rounders. This season, he has seven picks in the first three rounds. Stockpiling draft picks isn't a new idea for rebuilding teams; what's supposed to be different for the Panthers is Tallon's knack for finding talent. However, there's one problem with that idea.

He wasn't a brilliant draft manager in Chicago.

Before you crucify me, let's look at the facts. Tallon was in charge of the Blackhawks for five drafts -- 2005 to 2009. And of the 43 players he selected, only four of them played an NHL game by the end of last season. Three of them -- Toews, Kane and Hjalmarsson -- were crucial parts of the championship squad. But 39 of 43 draft picks didn't contribute to that Hawks team. While that total is about average, when you consider the strong draft position throughout his tenure, he was actually below-average.