The general manager turned the Florida team upside-down last summer which helped end the NHL's longest play-off drought.
Dale Tallon has clawed back the Panthers' fortunes
The NHL's longest play-off drought is over. The Florida Panthers did not exactly storm the gates - winning just once in their final 10 games - but they are back in the post-season after 12 long years.
It has been a long time coming for the franchise that shocked the NHL when they advanced to the Stanley Cup final back in 1996 as a third-year team. Florida fell to Joe Sakic's mighty Colorado Avalanche that year, but that unexpected run to the final remains the Panthers' high point as a franchise.
They made it back to the post-season in 1997, losing in five games in the first round against the Rangers.
But at least they won a game; in 2000, the last time Florida qualified for the spring fling, they were unceremoniously swept by the New Jersey Devils.
Thus began a dozen years of play-off frustration, a legacy of failure that led Dale Tallon, the new general manager, to turn the team upside-down last summer and completely remake the roster. Tallon brought in 10 free agents and pulled off a couple of trades, too.
Stephen Weiss, the longtime Panthers centre remains, but Florida are full of new faces.
Give credit to Tallon - the chemistry experiment worked. The Panthers were an upper-echelon team in the East all season, with the stumble to the finish line their only real blemish.
The next challenge is to win a play-off game for the first time in 15 years. But at least they are in the game.