GM Tallon sells Campbell on joining Panthers

ST. PAUL -- It appears Dale Tallon is quite the salesman.

The Florida GM spent Friday night convincing All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell that the struggling Panthers were a better hockey home for his skill set than the Original Six Chicago Blackhawks, who won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

Tallon, who recruited Campbell to play for those Blackhawks back in 2008 when he was GM in Chicago, worked his sale pitch magic again -- using all the tricks in his arsenal. After all, Tallon admitted Saturday that he is "selling fun."

"History; relationships," he said when asked how he wooed Campbell to Florida, persuading him to waive his no-trade clause. "We got him to Chicago and we had to sell him on Chicago. He came and then we didn't have to sell him that hard to get to Florida."

All Tallon had to do was share the blueprint for the Panthers' future.

"Dale did some great things in Chicago for a lot of guys and I've talked to a lot of my ex-teammates who are saying to me, 'Get me there,' "Campbell told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. ""Dale will make this place very attractive for players to want to come and play there. We'll get this organization going in the right direction and make the fans want to come back and support a great team."

Tallon says the acquisition of Campbell will help in the recruitment of other players.`

"It's going to be a destination for players," Tallon said. "That's the goal."

While the GM is a good salesman, he does not have a warped sense of reality. He knows his team only won just 30 games this past season and finished No. 27 in the 30-team NHL. But he also knows that his plans work, and he believes he took the next step in that plan this weekend with his picks in the 2011 Entry Draft.

"We're not there yet, but with the drafts we had last year and this last year; it's coming," Tallon said. "With the ability to sign some free agents moving forward, we're going to get there quicker than we did in the past and that is the goal."

Campbell certainly helps in that regard. Tallon may be comfortable with Campbell because of past history, but he also knows how much better he makes his new team.

"We need good players," Tallon said. "We need as many good players as we can get. That's a dimension we don't have, a guy that can carry the puck and play 28 minutes a game and help our power play. We had the worst power play in the League, and Brian will help us immensely.

"He gives us offense from the back end, he gives us speed and he gives us the ability to get the puck out of our end quickly -- all those things. It's just one piece, but an important piece."

Now he is ready to add even more pieces as the July 1 free-agent period approaches.

"We have some other things in the fire moving forward this week, so things are good," Tallon said. "We put ourselves in a good position now and move forward. Still a lot of talk and chatter and we hopes this starts to steamroll and force us to make some moves."