An incredible amount of effort has been expended in the statistics community over the past decade to come up with better metrics to evaluate players and to evaluate which indicators predict successful teamsfrom NHL equivalencies to possession stats (e.g. Corsi, Fenwick) to situational stats and finally to historically comparative metrics like Hockey Prospectus' own Goals Versus Threshold (GVT).
Despite all these advances, no one can seem to come up with a model for building a team that is foolproof. We can generally agree that the gap in goaltender talent spreads are tight and that possession stats lead to wins in the long haul, but research proving whether teams need to build through the draft, by signing bargain free agent deals or by emphasizing one position over others is usually more suggestive than definitive.
With this in mind, it makes the extreme team makeover session the Florida Panthers have undergone even more interesting.
General Manger Dale Tallon has taken a tremendous amount of criticism and ridicule for the huge terms he has handed to risky players, but what choice did he have? While many assume that the sole purpose of the signings were to hit the NHL's mandated salary floor, I believe there is more behind Tallon's "madness". The common problem facing many of the league's bottom-dwellers is how they finally turn the corner to being competitive. Tallon appears to be following the model he used in Chicagosign some quality NHL players to pair with high-end prospects.