Florida Panthers’ Dale Tallon likely to be busy as trade deadline nears

The Panthers go into the All-Star break with the same number of wins as regulation losses with five overtime defeats thrown in for fun.

If one subscribes to the Bill Parcells adage that a team is only as good as its record indicates, well, the Panthers are a pretty average bunch.

Not real good, not real bad.

How ordinary are the Panthers? Not only are they a .500 team in the win-regulation loss category, but they have scored the exact number of goals (131) as they have given up.

“It’s tough to get reflective of where you are at, being in the day-to-day grind of it,’’ coach Pete DeBoer said. “I like our work ethic; I like the way the guys have bought in. But we’ve left points on the table. That’s the story so far. Since Christmas, we’ve done better at that. Even when we’ve lost, we’ve been able to come away with points, and that’s the key. At the beginning of the year, we went stretches without getting anything out of it.’’

General manager Dale Tallon will have to decide soon enough whether the Panthers are going to be sellers or buyers at the trade deadline next month, although Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Bruins likely won’t sway Tallon or assistant general manager Mike Santos one way or another.

What happens on the upcoming three-game trip that starts Tuesday in Toronto could begin to sway the Florida brain trust, however. Time is running out, and the Panthers have plenty of ground to make up.

Among the Panthers’ flaws is inconsistency by the team’s top scorers. And they seem to feed off each other. When Stephen Weiss isn’t scoring much, neither, it seems, is David Booth, Michael Frolik or Chris Higgins.

Of Florida’s 49 games this season, 27 have been decided by a goal, with the Panthers winning 12. They don’t get blown out often (Florida has been in 16 games decided by three goals and has won nine), and on those rare occasions when they have been flat, the Panthers almost assuredly bounce back the next time out.

It’s that type of even-keeled play that has kept the Panthers within sight of a playoff berth. Atlanta goes into the break holding an eight-point lead on Florida but has played in three more games.


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