When Florida Panthers general manager strode to the podium at the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, there were audible gasps when he announced he was selecting Finnish center Aleksander Barkov with the second overall pick.
Tallon made a number of good moves in his decade running the Panthers — but selecting Barkov has proven to be his best.
Barkov, who turned 28 last month, made his first trip to South Florida a few days after being taken by the Panthers saying the only thing he knew about Florida was “much sun, good beaches and warm weather.”
Sasha Barkov is a local.
“Pretty much,” Barkov said last week, a day before starting his 11th season with the Panthers. “It has been a lot of fun getting to know the area. I don’t need a navigator to go anywhere anymore.
“This is my second home. Finland is much different than here, but I have loved living and playing here since Day 1. And now, the organization keeps getting better and I am happier than ever.”