Paul Maurice will take over as the next head coach of the Florida Panthers, the team announced Wednesday.
“At the completion of our season, we began an in-depth examination of all aspects of our team. After taking the appropriate amount of time for analysis, we determined that we needed the perfect fit to continue with the growth of our players and stay on the path for our franchise goals,” said Panthers general manager Bill Zito. “Paul’s experience and intellect were just what we were looking for and we are thrilled for him to step into the role of head coach.”
The former Winnipeg Jets bench boss replaces Andrew Brunette, who took over on an interim basis following Joel Quenneville’s resignation in October. Maurice resigned his position in December, explaining that the team needed “a new voice.” The 55-year-old had been with the franchise since Jan. 2014 and led them to a 315-223-62 record. He has coached the fourth-most games in NHL history (1,684) with four franchises — Winnipeg, Toronto, and Carolina.
Brunette guided the Panthers to a 51-18-6 record and helped the franchise earn its first Presidents’ Trophy. For his work, Brunette was voted as a finalist for the 2021-22 Jack Adams Award, which was won by Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter.
The Panthers did not fare so successfully in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, however. After dispatching the Washington Capitals in six games they were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was a month ago that the season ended for the Panthers, and there was very little movement on bringing Brunette back and dropping his “interim” tag. Over the last week the team has made changes to the coaching staff, letting assistants Ulf Samuelsson and Derek MacKenzie go while keeping Tuomo Ruutu on board — at least for now. There is now clarity in the position and Maurice can begin building his own staff.
According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the team will offer Brunette, who has one year left on his contract, a “significant role” if he chooses to stay with the organization.