The Florida Panthers were linked to Columbus Blue Jackets pending free agents Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky ahead of the trade deadline, but Ottawa Senators winger Mark Stone was the target they attempted to acquire on Monday.
Stone was traded by the Senators to the Vegas Golden Knights 17 minutes ahead of Monday's deadline for prospect Erik Brannstrom, a second-round pick and Oscar Lindberg. He agreed to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension with Vegas after the trade and Tallon said Stone would not have been a rental in Florida, either.
“We tried like hell to do something, were in on the big deal early and thought it was a fair offer,” Tallon said Monday, per The Athletic.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. There are 30 other teams – I don’t think there were that many in on that deal – and we gave it our best shot. I thought it was a very fair deal; [Ottawa] just preferred the other deal better. That’s just the way it is.”
“We made a good offer,” Tallon added, “just not good enough I guess.”
The Panthers finished deadline day as sellers, sending Derick Brassard to the Colorado Avalanche and Bogdan Kiselevich to the Winnipeg Jets, acquiring draft picks in both deals.
Tallon said the team will now focus on improving their roster in the free agency, when the Panthers are slated to have more than $18 million in cap space.
"We'll be very aggressive after the season," Tallon said. "We have lots of room now. We have lots of picks. We'll turn this into a positive thing. We had some bunt singles to scratch and claw to improve our organization on a daily basis and then we'll eventually hit the home run."
Over the past month, the Panthers made seven trades, including their biggest move on Feb. 1 when they traded Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Brassard, Riley Sheahan and three draft picks.
"We've had a good month," Tallon said. "We've accumulated some picks and some assets, freed up some money as far as free agency for this this summer, and didn't really disrupt the core of our team. All in all, a very positive month for us.
"I think our whole organization worked really well together. Subtly, we did some really good things here in the last month. We helped improve our minor-league team a little bit today, too, with a couple of deals that we made. Overall, a real solid month for our organization."
The Panthers, who sit eight points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, will visit the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday before facing Stone and the Golden Knights on Thursday night.