from Michale Russo of the Star Tribune, The Southeast Division leaders were $20 million under the $48.3 million salary-cap floor and “needed to get better at virtually every position,” (asst. GM Mike) Santos said, so they were open for business and began handing out long-term deals like suntan lotion on South Beach.
It started in June when Tallon, the former Blackhawks GM, traded for Chicago’s Brian Campbell and his $7.1 million cap hit, then traded for Chicago’s Tomas Kopecky and signed him to a four-year, $12 million deal.
“That took a little pressure off because now we only needed nine or 10 players,” Santos said, laughing.
When free agency began at noon July 1, Santos hit the phones. The Panthers set up a war room with an adjoining space where Santos could get privacy. As Tallon and staff monitored the Internet, Twitter and TSN to assure the Panthers weren’t missing out on any player, Santos negotiated away.
The first agent Santos called was Pat Morris, who represented free-...