Florida has ‘half dozen’ coaching candidates, Therrien included

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An update on the Panthers’ search for a “modern day guy” as their next head coach…

Over the weekend, GM Dale Tallon told Sportsnet he’s interviewed a “half dozen guys” for the vacant gig over the last couple weeks, adding that the club will “do another half dozen or so.”

Included in that list? Former Montreal head coach Michel Therrien.

Therrien, a South Florida resident, has been connected to the job for a while and was recently confirmed as a candidate by Sportsnet’s Montreal reporter, Eric Engels. The news about the former Habs bench boss comes after the Panthers already interviewed one candidate — University of Denver’s Jim Montgomery. Sportsnet reported that Florida spoke with him last week.

Montgomery, 47, has spent the last three years at Denver, building one of college hockey’s most elite programs. This year’s squad was led by Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher, U.S. junior shootout hero Troy Terry and, perhaps most interestingly, freshman scoring sensation Henrik Borgstrom — Florida’s first-round pick at last year’s draft.

Based on everything coming from Tallon, the coaching decision won’t be a rush job. He all but cemented that last month, when he said there “are some candidates that are in the playoffs that we can’t talk to,” adding he might wait “until at least mid-June” to make a hire.

In speaking with Sportsnet, he went into further detail about how wide a net he’s casting.

“We’re interviewing head coaches in all leagues, college, junior, American League, assistant coaches in the NHL and also some past head coaches in the NHL,” Tallon explained. “So it’s a diverse group.”