SUNRISE, Fla. Dale Tallon assembled a team that got the Florida Panthers back into the playoffs. He has bigger plans now, and the Panthers are making sure their general manager has the chance to see them through.
Tallon and the Panthers announced Wednesday that they have agreed on a multiyear contract extension. Specific terms were not disclosed.
"I think it was very, very important for us to give the contract extension to Dale for one very, very crucial reason," Panthers general partner Cliff Viner said. "And that is I think it's important for us to show our confidence in Dale, so that he can be confident and he can have the certainty that he can execute his plan and our plan for long-term success."
Tallon joined the Panthers in May 2010. He led a turnaround that included the snapping of a 12-year playoff drought and the club's first Southeast Division title this season.
Florida lost a first-round series to eventual Eastern Conference champion New Jersey, losing Game 7 to the Devils at home in double overtime.
"We had a good year. We're very positive going into the offseason," Tallon said. "But we're not satisfied. If you get into the playoffs, anything can happen."
Tallon is a finalist for the NHL's Executive of the Year award, with the winner set to be announced later this month.
His fingerprints are all over multiple aspects of the franchise, with him having reshaped the club's hockey operations department and much of the team's roster. The Panthers finished 38-26-18 this season, the 94 points being their most since finishing with 98 in 1999-2000 - which, until this season, was their most recent playoff year.
He hired Kevin Dineen to coach the team a year ago, brought Michael Santos in as an assistant general manager, signed assistant coaches Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay and also hired director of player development Brian Skrudland.
"I think we have a great core here and we have a great nucleus of character people who really care," Tallon said. "And they weren't excited about losing a Game 7, believe me. Our exit meetings were very fruitful, but there was a lot of disappointment in that locker room. Guys weren't satisfied about losing a Game 7 in double overtime."
Tallon said the team has already offered restricted free agent forward Kris Versteeg and free agent goaltender Scott Clemmensen contracts for next season. Another free agent who will be getting an offer this week is defenseman Jason Garrison, and Tallon is hopeful all those deals will eventually get done.
Another deal that was a no-brainer, he said, was his own. Tallon said he had no designs on leaving Florida anytime soon.
"There was never any doubt," Tallon said. "Regardless of this, I was going to give my heart and soul to this franchise. Now it just gives us security and the ability to go forward ... and work together toward the common goal of winning the Stanley Cup."