Panthers hire Hawks' Dale Tallon as GM
Announcement comes as Chicago leads Western Conference final 1-0
As the Chicago Blackhawks make their second straight run at an NHL Western Conference title, the man who helped get them there is heading south.
On Monday, Florida announced that Dale Tallon would replace Randy Sexton as the Panthers' general manager.
Tallon spent 33 years with the Blackhawks' organization, as a player, broadcaster and office executive. He became general manager in 2005, and helped turn the struggling franchise around by drafting key players like Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane.
Last year, he was reassigned, and became a senior adviser for the team.
The news of Tallon's move to Florida comes just one day after the Blackhawks opened the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on the road to the Stanley Cup. Last year, the Blackhawks were eliminated in the conference final by the Detroit Red Wings.
"It is with great pleasure and excitement that I join the Florida Panthers," Tallon said in a statement Monday. "I look forward to getting to work and will immediately evaluate our club's framework, as we diligently prepare for the upcoming draft and free agency signing period."
The Panthers hired Sexton at the start of the 2009-2010 season, but the team finished 32-37-13 and missed the playoffs for the eighth straight year. They will pick third in the 2010 NHL entry draft in June.
Tallon represents 'new chapter' for Panthers
The Panthers did not immediately announce whether Sexton will be leaving the team, or moving into a different position within the organization.
Tallon is set to be officially introduced as GM at a news conference on Tuesday morning.
"On behalf of the entire organization, we are thrilled and honoured to open a new chapter in Florida Panthers franchise history with the hiring of Dale Tallon as general manager," majority owners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel wrote in a statement posted on the Panthers' website.
"Dale brings with him a proven track record and an impressive franchise-building resume that we believe is the perfect fit for the future of the Panthers organization. We thank Randy Sexton for his service to our organization and appreciate his continued support throughout this transition process."