Florida Panthers prefer long-term agenda over short-term gain

Scott Billeck
NBC Sports

If the Florida Panthers are going to emerge from the season with a playoff spot, they’re going to need to find a little more scoring.

But general manager Dale Tallon won’t be making any deadline deals that don’t make sense in the long-term.

“It’s going to take somebody that’s going to be involved in that process for us to make a move,” Tallon said, speaking to reporters in Florida on Friday. “We have pieces coming that are our own. As far as the deadline and other trades, we’re always looking at that.”

That process, Tallon said, includes the Panthers looking within. Tallon said nothing is being looked at for short-term gain.

“We’ve got great kids coming, we’ve got really good players in our minor league system,” Tallon said. “I really like what’s happening as far as our future (is concerned).”

That said, Tallon added that he and his scouting team have identified some pieces that could fit the puzzle.

“We just ended a good, prosperous week at with our pro scouts here in Florida,” he said. “There are a lot of good young players around. We’ve identified some guys who we think would fit in beautifully with our team. We’re going to be really strong up the middle and good on the backend with our young defenseman.”

Florida’s talent stream starts with the 23rd pick in 2016 in center Henrik Borgstrom.

Borgstrom won the NCAA title with Denver in his first season in collegiate hockey last season. The Finn will provide size up the middle, something Tallon alluded to.

The Panthers also have the 10th pick in this past summer’s draft in forward Owen Tippett.

Tippett had a break-out season last year with 44 goals in 60 games and has 17 in 23 so far this season in the Ontario Hockey League.

And don’t forget, Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck are only 24 and Alexander Barkov is just 22. All three have hit the 40-point mark this season. On the blue line, Aaron Ekblad is 21.

Point is, the Panthers have a good-looking crop of young talent, several of which are making big strides in The Show already.

Tallon discussed his team thus far this season and what could be done to improve it, including finding some adding scoring depth for one of the lowest scoring teams in the league.

“I think we’re relying on a lot of young players and it takes time,” Tallon said. “Scoring is the hardest thing to do. We need a balanced attack, of course. Trocheck is doing all that we’ve asked and more. We’ve got to get some contributions from other guys throughout the lineup.”

Entering the night six points adrift of the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference, Tallon said he liked the position his team was in after winning six of its last 10 and crawling up from the basement of the conference.

“We’re in a good spot. I like how we’re playing. I like the position we are in,” Tallon told reporters. “I think we’ll be a better team in the second half for a lot of reason: more experience, the coaching is starting to come together as far as the system, it’s more natural for the players. Less breakdowns, more teamwork and a lot more passion and desire and a lot more consistency.”

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