Bergevin gives Florida permission to interview Panthers franchise icon for GM position

The Habs let go of an important piece and allow their divisional rival to get even better.

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I case you missed it last week, the Florida Panthers parted ways with long-time general manager Dale Tallon after the team failed to get by the New York Islanders in their five game Qualifying Series.

"For the last decade, Dale raised the team's profile, attracted key players to South Florida and brought character and class to our franchise," said Owner & Governor Vincent Viola in a prepared statement. "When we purchased the Panthers in 2013, we did so with a singular goal-to win a Stanley Cup. We have not seen our efforts come to fruition. We will now begin an organizational search for the next General Manager."

Viola went on say that the Panthers "will conduct a broad and comprehensive search to find the right leader who will direct our hockey operations towards building a championship caliber franchise."

It's believed that the Panthers will take their time in choosing their next GM, but one candidate is reportedly already in discussions with the team. According to a report from NHL insider Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic, the Montreal Canadiens have granted permission for the Panthers to speak with assistant GM Scott Mellanby.

Check it out:

Mellanby, of course, is an icon in the Panthers Organization having scored the team's first ever goal and for coining the "rat trick" craze after killing a rat with his stick in the team's locker room. After that incident went public, Panthers fans would litter the ice with thousands of plastic rats after each Panthers goal. He also represented the team at the 1996 NHL All-Star Game.

Mellanby is much more than a familiar face though. He's a well heeled hockey executive and has spent the past decade working for the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and the Canadiens. He has been the Habs' assistant GM and Marc Bergevin's right hand man since 2014. Prior to that he worked closely with then Canucks GM Mike Gillis and helped shape the team's roster into one of the most dominant regular season teams of the decade. 

All of this is the say that Mellanby is very much a qualified candidate and he's not just another familiar face for Panthers fans to latch onto.