Breaking up ain’t hard to do for Dale Tallon.
The Florida Panthers GM is in full dismember mode now with the team he inherited, making another deal on a day that previously seemed like the calm before Monday’s trade deadline storm. Tallon broke the tranquility, sending defenseman and team captain Bryan McCabe to the New York Rangers for minor-leaguer Tim Kennedy and a third-round draft pick.
It was a little more than I thought Florida would get for the 35-year-old rental who has a $5.75 cap hit, with the young forward being a potentially worthwhile a throw-in to the pick that the Panthers really prized. But the Rangers really needed someone who can quarterback a power play, and that’s the best part of McCabe’s game. He has a big shot.
So New York fills an immediate need while Tallon continues looking to the future. He took over last spring with a mandate to rebuild a franchise that is about to miss its 10th consecutive playoffs, and he started the process with what was widely considered a great draft that included three first-round choices.
In other words, the picks he got for McCabe and a couple of days earlier for another veteran rental Cory Stillman are the real value to him. Getting Kennedy, who had a 12-goal season with the Buffalo Sabres a couple of years, and forward Ryan Carter from Carolina in the Stillman deal, are bonuses and with no risk because both have expiring contracts this season.
In the meantime, Florida saves a couple of million dollars in payroll for the rest of this season and chances are the Panthers aren’t finished making moves. This first season has been one of evaluation one for Tallon, who has apparently reached the conclusion that just about every one is available for the right deal.
He started by moving out young roster forward Michael Frolik to Chicago in a deal a couple of weeks ago that brought Jack Skille, a forward Tallon drafted for the Blackhawks. Since then scouts from four or five teams have regularly attended Panthers game. There is a widely held assumption that goalie Tomas Vokoun will be dealt, but there has been as much focus lately on David Booth and Stephen Weiss.
Expect Tallon to be be busy between now and the deadline, and again around the draft because one way or another he has to give the Panthers a much different look next season.