Tallon on radio: "Everyone here had better pick it up"
Panthers GM Dale Tallon was interviewed briefly this afternoon on NHL Home Ice via XM/Sirius radio. A couple of quick hits from the show before Thursday's Free Agent madness:
On Thursday's Free Agent Frenzy: We'll evaluate what's out there...(and) look at not only what makes sense for us next year but long-term. We look at it as a marathon, not a sprint. We'll be pursuing the right type of player at the right time.
On how much to shake up the roster through free agency: Our blueprint is to develop through the draft, make some prudent trades, then add from free agency as we go along. Free agency makes sense if it's one player who puts you over the top. We'll be very aware of who's available that may fill some of the holes on this team.
Thoughts on last weekend's Entry Draft after taking 13 players in seven rounds: We added a variety of players - mostly big players. Three guys over 6'-4", a group of guys in the 6'-3" and 6'-2" level; only one was under six feet. We got a lot of the guys we had pointed out as future Panthers. Overall (chief scout) Scott Luce and the whole amateur staff did a great job.
Everyone knows about Erik Gudbranson, but what's the story with John McFarland (sliding out of the first round)? We were happy to get both (Alex) Petrovic and John McFarland early in the second round. I saw (John) play a few games with Sudbury this year; I liked his presence on the ice, quick feet, quick hands, quick shot, and he's got a bit of an edge as well. Fortunate to get him at 33.
Having dealt forward Nathan Horton, are you looking to address some issues up front?: I like offense, I like scoring, I like a puck-possession game. Definitely we need to improve in that area. We need to improve in all areas, defense and special teams and offense. It's going to take more than one player, so we need to take our time so we don't make any mistakes.
On Stephen Weiss: He' a valuable asset; Stephen's staying here, he's going to play here. I like him a lot, and he's expressed that he's happy here and wants to play well and raise his game here. We're happy to have him. Hopefully we'll get him some players to complement him and give him a lot of assists.
Timeline for the future: We want to make the playoffs as soon as possible. That's the goal. We're looking at (Thursday) adding some possible free agents who can get us to the next level. We'll take this one step at a time. I can't put a timeframe on it; it happened a little quicker than we expected in Chicago.
On players (such as Olesz, Frolik) not utilizing that "extra gear": You're exactly right. And they'd better find another gear or they won't play for the Panthers, simple as that. And not just those two; everyone here had better pick it up. I'm not going to put up with mediocrity.
Ed. note: clarification on the Olesz/Frolik thing in the comments.