Florida's craziness and Dale Tallon's lack of imagination

Let's just take stock again of what Dale Tallon did over the last few weeks:

Cap Hit Salary Term
Tomas Fleischmann 4.5 4.5 UFA 2015
Scottie Upshall 3.5 3.5 UFA 2015
Tomas Kopecky 3 3 UFA 2015
Sean Bergenheim 2.75 2.75 UFA 2015
Marcel Goc 1.7 1.7 UFA 2014
Brian Campbell 7.14 7.14 UFA 2016
Ed Jovanovski 4.125 4.125 UFA 2015
26.715 26.715 28 seasons
Total 112.3

That's a big long-term financial commitment to declining players; it's a substantial overpay for basically every player on the list; and it still leaves Florida five wins shy of a playoff spot. If you were going to acquire players willy-nilly to get to the salary floor, why wouldn't you adopt a different strategy? Why not do shorter deals for slightly bigger bucks to keep the balance sheet a little cleaner? Or...Gasp! Why not look around for a way to circumvent the salary cap rules and save yourself a little money at the same time? There are more than a handful of over-30 players out there with cap hits that exceed their salaries:

Cap Hit Salary Term
Jason Blake 4 3 UFA 2012
Daniel Briere 6.5 4.75 UFA 2015
Ryan Malone 4.5 3.375 UFA 2015
Michal Rozsival 5 3 UFA 2012
Mike Komisarek 4.5 4.167 UFA 2014
Ron Hainsey 4.5 4 UFA 2013
29 22.292 15 seasons
Total 59

Am I dreaming, or wouldn't all of these players be available for somewhere between very little and nothing? Don't other NHL GMs owe Dale Tallon big-time for all of the stupid trades he's made in the past? Maybe I just dislike Jason Blake? I think Toronto and Philly would love to have the cap space; Tampa would love to get another over-30 guy with an injury history off the books; and Anaheim, Phoenix and Winnipeg would love to get rid of salary and use it for something more useful.

These contracts are bigger pigs than the ones Florida actually signed ($4.5M per win vs $4.1M per win), so the Panthers might have even been able to pull in a draft pick here or there and the team wouldn't be any worse. But the key is that Florida's new owners - whoever they may be - would have $53M less long-term debt under this scenario than they do today. That Dale Tallon did what he did shows a complete and utter lack of imagination.

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