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The Florida Panthers had their best season in franchise history in the 2015-16 regular season. It’s not often you see a 103-point team reshuffle its front office, but shuffle the Panthers have.
As first reported by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, associate general manager Tom Rowe has been promoted to general manager while Dale Tallon has been “promoted” to some sort of position atop of the hockey operations food chain. Eric Joyce, who was the general manager of the Portland Pirates since 2014, is an assistant general manager. Steve Werier was the Panthers’ VP of legal and business affair, and will now be an assistant general manager as well.
Tallon recently signed a three-year extension, keeping him with the Panthers through 2019.
So what’s behind these musical office chairs in the executive suites?
The Miami Herald learned the Panthers were leaning toward changing their management structure as the season came to a close because the team wants to incorporate more mathematical analysis when it comes to making roster decisions.
Tallon will still have a say in how the Panthers are built moving forward, although now Rowe, Joyce and Werier will have more of a say than before.
This is Rowe’s first general managing gig in the NHL. He joined their front office on Jan. 1, 2016, after coaching their AHL affiliate for three years. Yes, coaching.
The interesting move here is Werier. While he wasn’t in a player personnel role, he oversees the team’s analytics department, and clearly that’s the side of player evaluation the ownership wants to accentuate. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Panthers are going to start playing “Moneyball.” But with over $52 million committed to 32 contracts next season, and with some significant young players needing contracts in the next two years, perhaps ownership is looking to get a little “cheap and effective” with the roster.
Richards said that owner Vinny Viola “likes many voices” in player personnel.
One of those remains Tallon, credited with building one of the better young teams in the NHL, but now kicked upstairs. This is what acquiring the Dave Bolland contract gets you, apparently. Or what being hired by a previous ownership group gets you, as well.
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