Releasing the Kraken on Dale Tallon

Discussion in 'Florida Panthers' started by luby3131, Nov 6, 2013.

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  1. luby3131

    luby3131 Registered User

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    I'm taking a page out of Omar Kelly's book on this one. For those of you who are not local or unfamiliar, Kelly is a writer for the Sun-Sentinel and covers the Dolphins. About two years ago, he put out a series of articles titled "The Kraken" unleashing on the mistakes made by the Bill Parcels-Tony Sparano-Jeff Ireland, adivisor-coach-GM tri-fecta.

    I'm making this post to do the same on the Florida Panthers, specifically Dale Tallon. Why? Well, I'm tired of seeing Tallon get a free pass around here based on his success with the Chicago Blackhawks. Back in the Summer of 2010 when the Panthers hired Dale Tallon and all of you were littered with excitement, I was more than a little disappointed.

    I was a very big supporter of Randy Sexton and the job he had done from the time he took over on. For those with short memories, Sexton orchestrated the Jay Bouwmeester deal while being backed into a wall, managing to get out respectable value for a player who was leaving no matter what (Jordan Leopold and a 3rd round pick used to select Josh Birkholz). Sexton did a tremendous job in that draft, selecting Dmitri Kulikov out of Drummondville at #14, then orchestrating a last minute agreement to buy him out of his KHL contract in order for him to be able to join the team as an 18 year old rookie. He selected Drew Shore from the NTDP U18s with his next pick, and continued to draft 5 more players who are all still currently playing in either the AHL or the ECHL (Josh Birkholz, Garrett Wilson, Corban Knight, Wade Meghan, and Scott Timmins). Sexton also made two shrewd dumpster diving pick ups in Dennis Seidenberg and Dominic Moore on the cheap, eventually flipping both for 2nd round picks around the deadline. He also signed free agent to be Jordan Leopold after the Bouwmeester trade and flipped him for a 2.

    Out of the blue on one of the last days of the season, the report came out that Dale Tallon would be taking over as the new GM. In the weeks after the announcement, the Chicago Blackhawks team Tallon had built (only to be fired over some paper work mistakes with restricted free agents) would win the Stanley Cup. Excitement reached an all-time high with Tallon promising a five year blue print to turn this team around. He started off with a bang, trading Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell to Boston for a package including a 1st as well as trading Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich to Vancouver for a 1st, Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner. Tallon used the three first round picks on players to fit his bigger and faster vision- Erik Gudbranson, Nick Bjugstad, and Quinton Howden. He used his first two 2nd round picks on the disappointing John McFarland and the promising Alex Petrovic. The last 8 selections he made are players who are anonymous to all but the die hards. In free agency, Tallon would add Mike Weaver and Chris Higgins to the mix. To this point, Tallon was doing a very good job.

    Then came the infamous Michael Grabner mistake. You all know the story by now. Grabner was disappointing in training camp, Tallon waived him expecting nobody to claim him, and the rest is history. As bad as this looks in hindsight, he won't be bashed for this. The other major mistake was the Erik Gudbranson contract fiasco, where Gudbranson was told he had made the team but Tallon could not get a contract done with his agent in time. It's tough to say whether the extra year in junior helped or hurt Gudbranson's development thus far. Still, it was a terrible job by Tallon not getting the contract done. The 2010-2011 team sputtered, as expected, and when the deadline came Tallon surprised a few, not with the moves he made, but with the ones he didn't. The most notable and surprising trade was moving Michael Frolik to Chicago for former Tallon pick Jack Skille and prospect David Pacan. Considering Frolik has a Cup ring and is still playing in the NHL, while Skille is on a two-way deal in Columbus, I'll chalk that deal up as a loss. Tallon would ship out scraps in Dennis Wideman, Radek Dvorak, Bryan Allen, and Chris Higgins for nothing prospects and an array of mid-round draft picks. He surprisingly kept free agents to be Tomas Vokoun and Marty Reasoner, as well as not as surprisingly keeping Stephen Weiss and David Booth, who were under contract for the next season. The moves left the Panthers with $40 million in cap space, which leads us to the 2011 offseason...

    The on-ice disaster of 2011 left the Panthers with the prize of Jonathan Huberdeau, an electric- albeit, skinny- winger who just carried his team to a Memorial Cup. Tallon also selected an electric 5-6 forward by the name of Rocco Grimaldi, who is one of the best players in college hockey at the moment. Tallon also made his best pick as the Panthers GM, selecting Vincent Trocheck in the 3rd round. Trocheck was last season's OHL MVP and is currently tearing up the AHL. His other three 3rd round picks, Jonathan Racine, Logan Shaw, and Kyle Rau, are all signed to pro contracts or will be soon (in the case of Rau). The only issues I had with that draft were not selecting a goalie and the Rasmus Bengtsson pick, which looks even worse now than it looked then. Again, at this point, Tallon was still doing well.

    Free agency 2011 was the climax of Tallon's tenure this far. It all started with the draft day trade for Brian Campbell, which is still an absolute steal. Then he brought a lot of excitement to the team, doling out big contracts to free agents Tomas Fleischmann, Sean Bergenheim, Jose Theodore, Scottie Upshall, Tomas Kopecky, Marcel Goc and trading for Kris Versteeg. This was all on the heels of hiring Kevin Dineen as the new coach. Tallon had completely remade the roster, hoping to bring success early, which strayed from his original 5 year plan. The off-season was not without mistakes, however. Letting both Tomas Vokoun and Marty Reasoner walk after preaching at the deadline that they were part of the future was a mistake. He should've shipped them off for value when he could of. Not a major issue, but a bit troubling. Tallon also made a difficult, but smart, decision in sending Jonathan Huberdeau back to juniors. The kid clearly needed to bulk up to handle a full NHL season.

    When the team got out of the gate slow, Tallon made a major shake-up trade, shipping out a player who clearly didn't fit in fan favorite David Booth and acquiring veteran Mikael Samuelsson. This trade was a big win for the Panthers. The perfect storm hit that season- Washington and the rest of the division struggled early, the Panthers reeled off a few wins on the backs of at first the Fleischmann- Weiss - Versteeg line and then the backs of the Bergenheim - Goc - Kopecky trio all while getting good goaltending from Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen. The season was filled with positives and good feelings, as the team made the playoffs for the first time in a decade. This, unfortunately, will be the last time I praise Dale Tallon.

    When the 2012 draft came along, it appeared to me that Tallon had gotten a little bit complacent. Outside of 1st round pick Michael Matheson, and maybe even 4th round pick Alexander Delnov I believe that this draft was atrocious. All 5 draft picks are still early in their careers, but I'll stick to my convictions that he did a pretty awful job. The real issue I had was free agency 2012. Everyone knew Jason Garrison was leaving for Vancouver. So what does Dale do? He overpays for Filip Kuba, who just had a monster season while being paired with Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. The team was still in desperate need of primary and secondary scoring. So Tallon dumpster dives for Peter Mueller and Alex Kovalev, all why putting high expectations on rookie Jonathan Huberdeau. His most puzzling decision might have been re-singing Scott Clemmensen to a 2 year deal. He over-paid for an average at best goalie, for too long, all while infuriating his goalie of the future, Jacob Markstrom. I said before the season that I thought this team was worse than last years team. Tallon completely swung and missed on the 2012 off-season.

    To the disappointment of a fan base who apparently was napping during the off-season, the team was atrocious in the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season. The lone bright spot was the play of the rookies Jonathan Huberdeau and Drew Shore. Huberdeau was the clear choice for the Calder, and Drew Shore was our 2nd or 3rd best forward on most nights while battling an injury for most of the season. Fans gave Tallon and Dineen a mulligan on the year, citing the injury bug. Fair I guess, but this was Tallon's third year at the helm. Shouldn't he have acquired more depth by now? I let the season slide, but was very curious on what Tallon was going to do in the 2013 offseason.

    The 2013 draft is where I officially jumped off the Dale Tallon bandwagon. I'll start with the issue of pending free agent Stephen Weiss. A lot of people on these boards were in a fantasy world, expecting Weiss to resign here. It was clear he was a goner in my eyes. Tallon should've traded his rights at the draft. Then came the Aleksander Barkov selection. I like Barkov, and think he's going to be a very good player in this league. Problem is, I think Seth Jones will be a great one. Tallon made a mistake good GMs don't, and that's drafting positional need over best player available. We'll see what happens as the years go on with the Jones vs Barkov debate. I also had a problem with the rest of the draft though. Tallon got some solid prospects in guys such as Ian McCoshen, Matt Buckels, and Michael Downing. Problem is, he played the draft too safe. I'm not going to get into details on what I would've done, but I would've rather gotten guys with more upside than we did in rounds 3-7 (save for maybe Mackenzie Weegar out of Halifax). Tallon very well could have selected 4 NHLers in this draft. The problem is we won't know until 5-6 years from now because the best prospects he selected are all taking the 4 year college development route. Bottom line is, this draft was just Tallon trying to buy time with "the best prospect base in the league".

    The rest of the 2013 off-season is a mess. Tallon starts out preaching the "we're going young" approach, which is fine, especially because he was apparently told not to spend until a new owner is found. So all off-season long, fans are expecting a team lead by the young core, a glimpse into the future if you will. All of a sudden, training camp hits, and over the hill vets such as Brad Boyes, Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney, and Timmy Thomas start popping up on PTOs. A new owner is appointed and all of a sudden Tallon shifts his strategy from "going young" to "being competitive as possible". So instead of doing something similar to Buffalo and letting our young guys get NHL time to develop, we decide we're better off trying to compete with Boyes, Gomez, Gilbert, Gilroy, Whitney, and Thomas on the roster rather than giving spots to young guys with pro experience such as Howden, Shore, Petrovic, Robak, and giving Markstrom a shot as the #1 from the beginning.

    So what does this all mean? Where is this all going? Well, I'm sorry my friends, but Tallon is going to sink this ship if some of these "Rumor has it's" come true. Tallon is going to do the wrong thing in attempt to save his job. He's going to fire Dineen (although, that is well deserved), make a couple of minor shake up trades, and then attempt to trade a chunk of his young talent for proven players to try and salvage the season. The correct course of action for this franchise is to ship off the vets for assets, bring up the young guys to see what you really have, and gear up for a massive draft... kind of like what Randy Sexton did before him.

    Fire Dale Tallon
     
  2. CHGoalie27

    CHGoalie27 GWAAARRRRRRR

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    I look forward to picking this apart after dinner~!
     
  3. SoupyFIN

    SoupyFIN #OneTerritory

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    Conflicting I might say.

    Yet a few rows down the road:

    So Garrison was 100% guaranteed to Vancouver, while Weiss could have signed with any of the 29 other teams?

    Everyone knew these players had family ties to the respective cities. Saying that someone was certain to sign with team X and should have been traded there for value is like trying to play a prophet afterwards, which kind of takes away the whole point of being a prophet since you already know what happened.

    I'm not trying to defend Tallon here, but every GM makes mistakes, none of them are perfect. Any team's fan could come up with a similar list about their own team's GM's mistakes and **** ups, some less and some more.
     
  4. luby3131

    luby3131 Registered User

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    I don't see your point. These are two separate scenarios. Weiss to Detroit was not a well known lock. Toronto was the destination everyone was pointing to around the time of the draft if I remember correctly. Garrison to Vancouver was talked about for months. I'm not saying not trading Weiss' rights was a major mistake, but it's something he should've done.
     
  5. KittysGotClaws

    KittysGotClaws We See Red

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    Interesting breakdown, and I certainly give you credit for the in depth analysis. I don't disagree with a ton, except perhaps that the Frolik trade was any big loss. He wasn't doing much, so Tallon went after one of his guys that fit more of a physical approach. Not sure we would have eventually re-signed Frolik anyway. Still, I can see both sides of that.

    That successful season of 2011 was so important, but already seems so far away. I was interning, and I remember the incredible day at the big press conference announcing all the new signings. I remember laughing the night when we acquired Campbell for Olesz, which was still an incredible trade. Optimism was high and then we went and made the playoffs and performed well. Such a needed season for this fan base.

    Things have been ugly lately. I'm not sure I'd give Tallon the boot just yet though. I'm curious how next offseason goes with the new ownership. It is still tough to tell how much he's been restrained at times.
     
  6. klabob

    klabob Registered User

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    Weiss was either going to Toronto or Detroit. With only two team in the running, it's pretty hard to make them fight each other over a player, especially when he's not a first line player.
     
  7. ShootIt

    ShootIt M F P G A

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    Why do you think He'll will try to trade off our young prospects to save his job?
    If anything the guys He drafted will get an opportunity to play for the Panthers and he'll ship off the older guys.
     
  8. HockeyRulez

    HockeyRulez Panthers hockey since 1993

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    Great write-up. I agree with most of what you said. I am glad I'm not the only one to feel this way.

    The fact is we aren't where we should be, and you can argue that we've even gone backwards but personally I'm all for new leadership and accountability and it starts at the top.
     
  9. luby3131

    luby3131 Registered User

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    Good point. I don't wanna hammer home the issue, I'm just saying I would've been happy if he got something for Weiss.

    If he does that, I'll commend him. But I just don't think that's what he's going to do, and part of that has to do with the new ownership. The ideal situation is something similar to John Davidson in Columbus, where Tallon moves to a President of Hockey Ops type role and a new GM comes in.
     
  10. angry_treefrog

    angry_treefrog void

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    Weiss would have been traded at the deadline if he hadn't been injured.

    Noone wants to trade for an injured player for the stretch run so unfair to ding Tallon for that one.

    At least he didn't resign him - and Tallon caught lots of flak around here for not giving "loyal Panther (loyal to year round golf that is)" a big contract.

    Weiss has lived up to my low expectations in Detroit - most overrated Panther ever.
     
  11. adam graves

    adam graves Panther 20 yr sth

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    I'm also thinking Detroit was expecting more from Steven Weiss for $4.9M cap hit the next 5 years....2 goals in 16 games.
     
  12. FlaPnthrsPunk

    FlaPnthrsPunk Registered User

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    I've always been a big Tallon supporter, but lately is the first time that I've really began to question if the blueprint is really going to happen. I questioned some of his decisions starting in the offseason 2012 when guys like Kuba were signed to over-payments, but I let it slide since I had faith for the future. I don't blame him at for Garrison leaving since he had no choice and the guy just wanted to go back home in Vancouver to play. The Weiss situation might be for the best for the future as he's started off very poorly in Detroit. Sure, most of us loved the guy, but I don't see how he'd fit in with this team for the rest of his career.

    Now, with this season with an absolutely terrible first month, I really wonder what he can do from here. Most of the veteran players would be difficult to trade. Their contracts looked decent two seasons ago when they were producing, but it's so discouraging to see guys like Versteeg, Flash, Kopecky, Campbell, etc only seem noticeable when they make a mistake. With the new ownership and money to spend, I'm hoping this offseason can be an active one in free agency. One of the only veterans I'm hoping to keep is Goc as he's been dependable in so many areas. Of course that means he's a good candidate to trade then.

    Besides Huberdeau, Barkov, Bjugstad, Gudbranson, and maybe a few others. So far, I wouldn't mind keeping guys like Winchester and Boyes for the future, but we'll see if their good play keeps up. I'm on the fence with Kulikov as he's still young and has a possibility to be a good defenseman despite making many mistakes this season. I don't want to give up on Markstrom yet either. He's struggled more than most expected at this point but I think he still has time to develop and get better. Overall, this is really just not a good circumstance for any young player with growth to be in.

    I don't want to throw Tallon under the bus yet since he can rebound, but if this team doesn't improve next season, I'd definitely say his blueprint had an epic fail. I wonder if they can pull something next season like the Avalanche have this season. Going from likely worst or close to it in the East to one of the best next season depending on the draft and free agency.
     
  13. JP Mick

    JP Mick Real Good.

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    Your only solution to all of this nitpicking is to do exactly what Tallon did shortly after he was hired?

     
  14. luby3131

    luby3131 Registered User

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    You mean continue the blue print he laid out when he got here and veered off of as soon as he got cap space? Yeah, that's my solution.
     
  15. RainingRats

    RainingRats Registered User

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    Extremely high quality post.

    However, it's too early to judge the most recent draft. That's opinion at this point and nobody is right or wrong. I love Barkov. We needed a #1 dman just like we needed a #1 center. Both were needs.


    We may have dodged a huge bullet with Weiss. His wrist is probably still giving him major problems. Speculation on my part but there's no reason for his game to drop off like it has.

    I think that Tallon gets too much praise around here. He hasn't been amazing but he's doing well. It takes time for these prospects to develop. I'm surprised you didn't complain about the Howden pick. All the signings to three and four year deals had to be done to reach the cap floor. Plus we had to overpay to get guys to come here.

    Signing a bunch of cheap veterans for one year deals has worked out as badly as it could have for us. They must have felt that the prospects weren't ready. There's still time for a lot of them to play a ton of games at teh NHL level.

    I do think Tallon is on the hot seat but I don't think firing him makes a lot of sense. We need some stability. We need him to follow through on his plan. Not have some new guy come in and bring in "his guys" and "his prospects."
     
  16. luby3131

    luby3131 Registered User

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    I have no complaints about that selection. Howden was definitely worth a first round pick as a prospect. 6-3 forwards with that kind of speed don't grow on trees. It's unfortunate he hasn't been the same since his concussion. I'm still holding out hope for him to find his scoring touch at the pro level. He's just got such a tantalizing skill set, and you could see at the end of last year his speed created scoring chances. I hope he comes up at some point in the middle of the season.
     
  17. FrolikFan67

    FrolikFan67 Registered User

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    i loved just about all his signings that one offseason where he signed everyone, and now he's stock piled tons of great prospects. id like to see him clear out some of those veterans that he's signed, they were nice stop gaps but its time to gear up for real.

    definite keepers on the top 6: Huberdeau-LW, Barkov-C
    outside of that really anyone can be traded, i mean id love to hang onto flash unless they think they can upgrade him with a signing, and it depends on if they make it to free agency but the only ones that would be an upgrade would be vanek, moulson, michalek and maybe steen. they'll probably play bjugstad as the 2nd line center from this point on, the only one in free agency that would be a great signing would be stastny but i doubt he makes it, even if he did he'd sign somewhere else I'm sure, along with our center depth I'm sure we wouldn't overpay for him if he did make it to ufa.
    goc and kopecky can be traded, bergenheim id like to see stay, at least until his contract runs out. id like trocheck to take over the 3rd line center role next year.

    Fleischmann-Barkov-???
    Huberdeau-Bjugstad-???
    Bergenheim-Trocheck-???

    the right side is whats up in the air. id love for gaborik and callahan to make it to ufa but i highly doubt either one does. if vrbata, stempniak, and hemsky all made it to ufa id look long and hard at those guys. stempniak id love to get, he's very under rated, always a solid producer and cheap. i wonder what are the chances gaborik actually makes it to ufa and what he'd expect to sign for? we need an actual scorer, either through ufa or trade, without giving up barkov or huberdeau.

    and then theres fixing the D. other than campbell and gudbranson i could see all other being moved. id like to package kuli for a skilled winger. i think petrovic will make the jump next season. we really need to make at least 2 solid D signings in my eyes. id love to get klesla and niskanen, i think they make a nice 2nd pairing behind campbell-gudbranson. gilbert has been such a huge disappointment, he's just so timid and indecisive about everything, he doesn't come off as lazy necessarily, just so timid.
     
  18. Dread Clawz

    Dread Clawz LAWSonic Boom

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    Dude no team is going to put a bunch of 18 year olds they just drafted that summer onto the ice and call it a team. You cite Buffalo, but even most of those young players are at least 20. The prospects needed time to develop. You talk about Howden. He's still not ready, look at him. Tallon also needed to sign a bunch of free agents in 2011, to reach the cap floor...

    Also, I for one think Barkov is going to end up better than Jones. Barkov is in a scoring slump right now, but look at the team he's playing on. Jones is flourishing playing on that stacked Preds' blueline and on a solid bubble team. Even if Jones ends up being better, it's not going to be by a lot. It's a going to be pretty much a wash. We went for the position of need.

    Also luby, you give a GM too much credit for the draft. I doubt Tallon has much input past round 2. He's busy being a GM all year, he doesn't have time to scout like our scouts do. They are the ones who make the mid and late round picks. But if you are going to insist that Tallon is making them, then I defend the Michael Downing pick. I don't know how you call that a safe pick. That was a great pick, he has tons of upside and really should've gone higher than he did. He was thought of as a top 60 pick the summer before, and slid because he had a mid-year funk. I don't know what you expect from rounds 4-7. I thought we made some good picks, Josh Brown our 6th turned a lot of heads in rookie camp. Weegar has been great this season.

    Also, how can you say Buffalo's plan is so much better? Look where they are, they're even worse than us. Robak had a terrible camp, there's no way he should be in the NHL right now, he's never really impressed and this is his 4th pro season. Petrovic also had a bad camp, and the right decision was to cut him. I'll follow Detroit's model over Buffalo's any day.

    And lastly, Tallon is not going to trade youth for veterans, bank on it. He'll trade vets for vets and try to make a shake-up. If Viola demands different I believe Tallon would tell him to stick it where the sun don't shine. But I don't think Viola is that stupid anyway.
     
  19. Dread Clawz

    Dread Clawz LAWSonic Boom

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    I like Stempniak too. I'd like is to take a run at Gaborik if he makes it to UFA, he disappears for stretches, but he can be a gamebreaker at times as well. If we can sign him to a 3-4 year deal, not too long, then that would be great.

    If we draft Ekblad, there's a good chance he'd make the team right away as well. Then sign one of the top D's, and suddenly our blueline doesn't look so bad. I won't mind if Campbell is dumped, he's fallen off, and I hate how him and Versteeg always say "we weren't good enough tonight" yet never change their play. I think it's time for Campbell to go. Re-tool the blueline in the offseason. I won't mind a drop in offense if we get more snarl.
     
  20. JP Mick

    JP Mick Real Good.

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    Part of the blueprint was also to remain competitive while the prospects mature which is why he signed those free-agent contracts. Unfortunately some of those players are stinking up the joint now..
     
  21. JP Mick

    JP Mick Real Good.

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    I've heard that from other players as well and I agree, It gets really frustrating hearing that.
     
  22. luby3131

    luby3131 Registered User

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    Seriously, did you not read what i wrote or something? I didn't say I'd stick a bunch of 18 year olds in the line-up, that's absurd. I clearly metioned how I rather have our young guys in the AHL such as Howden, Shore, Trocheck, Petrovic, Robak, etc. on the roster rather than the garbage vets we have right now.

    Maybe I should clarify this a little bit. The reason I'm upset with what Tallon did this off-season is because he started off the summer with the "we're going young" attitude, and changed his mind three weeks before the season. Buffalo is awful, but at least Darcy Regeir committed to going young and piling young assets. They'll be much better off for it in the future, as you can see their young core guys in Risolainen, Zadorov, Girgensons, and Grigorenko making strides.

    When it comes to the draft, I undersand it's a bit of a crap shoot. I just get the sense of a pattern with Tallon taking college bound kids in rounds 2-4 and taking over agers in rounds 5-7. I'm not saying none of these guys are going to work out, as Josh Brown has been good for Oshawa this year and Mackenzie Weegar was my favorite pick Tallon made all draft. It just seems to me that Tallon tends to avoid CHL player early, when he should be taking them. I mentioned the Trocheck, Shaw, and Racine picks. Those guys were all very good finds, and are already playing their first pro season. Meanwhile, some of the college guys from Tallon's first draft such as Connor Brickley, Joe Basaraba, and Ben Gallacher are still in college and none of them look like NHL prospects at the moment. Again, not saying I expect the team to hit on every pick, but I'd like to say him take more risk, especailly with a prospect base considered as deep as ours.
     
  23. JP Mick

    JP Mick Real Good.

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    So he should have kept Robak and Petrovic on the opening night roster even though they were playing poorly?
     
  24. Chino Oscar

    Chino Oscar Registered User

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    You make some good points, but it is too easy to be critical after the fact. The prospects he has drafted seems to be progressing somewhat and regarding the 2012 NYL draft, first is too early to tell and we were drafting low in the first round, you can't expect him to make an impact on every draft.

    The coming weeks should tell us a lot about his managerial skills.
     
  25. luby3131

    luby3131 Registered User

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    Could they be that much worse than Gilbert, Whitney, and Gilroy?
     

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