The Florida Panthers are getting more serious in their pursuit of a new head coach.
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told L.A. Lariviere of TVA Sports the Panthers have asked for permission to speak with current assistant coach Gerard Gallant about their open top job.
Over the weekend we shared a report saying the Panthers were interested in Gallant as well as Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Bill Peters. Gallant has head coaching history after leading the Columbus Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons from 2004-2007.
The Panthers’ closer look at Gallant may have a bit to do with his history with star young player Jonathan Huberdeau.
Gallant coached Huberdeau with the St. John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL and led the team to back-to-back Memorial Cup championships in 2010-11 and 2011-12. The success Huberdeau had playing for Gallant was staggering.
In the 11-12 season, he had 72 points in 37 games. In 10-11, he had 105 points in 67 games. If Gallant was able to get Huberdeau back on track after a tough season this past year, that’d go a long way to helping the Panthers climb out of the basement. He had just nine goals and 28 points in 69 games this season after winning the Calder Trophy the year before.