The Florida Panthers have found their man to lead the team.
The team announced they’ve hired Gerard Gallant to be the new head coach. He was an assistant coach for Michel Therrien with the Montreal Canadiens the past two seasons and is a former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach.
Panthers GM Dale Tallon had glowing words for Gallant in the team’s press release.
“We are pleased to welcome Gerard as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers,” said Tallon. “He is an individual with tremendous character, integrity and a strong passion for the game and has experience as an NHL head coach. Gerard is an excellent teacher and motivator who possesses the leadership qualities and hockey knowledge that are necessary to lead our team.”
The Panthers chose Gallant out of a field of hopefuls that included recent Carolina Hurricanes hire Bill Peters, former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, and former Stanley Cup winner Marc Crawford among others. Crawford just verbally agreed to return to his job in Switzerland.
Gallant has a lot of experience behind the bench as both an assistant and a head coach.
He worked as an assistant for three seasons in Columbus before ascending to the top job for parts of three more seasons. He’s also been an assistant with the New York Islanders as well as the Habs.
More importantly for the current Panthers roster, he was head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and led them to back-to-back Memorial Cup titles. His best player on those teams? Panthers young stud forward Jonathan Huberdeau.
Gallant has a very young roster to work with in Florida headed up by Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, and Erik Gudbranson. He’ll have his hands full in getting this green team together and trying to get back to the playoffs.
The team will formally introduce Gallant at a press conference on Monday.
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon will have some tough decisions to make on draft day. One of those choices will be what to do with the No. 1 overall pick. One thing he may not have counted on was the quality of talent available this year.
Harvey Fialkov of The Sun Sentinel shares Tallon’s thoughts on this year’s draft class and he’s a bit surprised at how good it appears to be.
“A lot of them are NHL-ready,” Tallon said. “It’s a better draft than we thought based on what we saw in the spring. There’s a lot of good players in the first round and we should get two good players [at No. 1] and at 32. It’s exciting; we’ll do well.”
While Tallon talks about getting two good players with their picks, he’s been fielding calls for the first overall selection and may deal out of that spot or trade down twice to maximize a return. He’s made no bones about shopping the pick around even though they really like defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
Tallon talking up the talent level of the draft could be a sly means to get a few more teams calling them about deals. As if having the first pick overall wouldn’t be enough to do that already, the Panthers are poised to be very active in Philadelphia.
The Florida Panthers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the NHL Draft. Owning the No. 1 pick means they’ve got their choices of anyone they want. They also have the choice to trade down if it means getting a better haul.
The idea of Panthers GM Dale Tallon trading out of the top spot has been kicked around lately, but CBC’s Elliotte Friedman floats the idea in his 30 Thoughts the Panthers could deal down twice and still get their guy.
It would take a couple of different conditions to make it work :
- The Buffalo Sabres are expected to take either of the top centers in Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett at second overall. If a team like the Islanders or Flames wanted to jump to No. 1 to get either of them ahead of Buffalo, that would allow Florida to drop to fourth or fifth to change spots and get something else out of that team.
- From there, the Panthers could deal down again if they expect one of the players they have their eye on is still available. That means Florida could slide down again slightly if there’s another player a team below them is eager to grab.
Florida has a need to fill at wing and guys like William Nylander, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kevin Fiala, Kasperi Kapanen, and Brendan Perlini could/should be Top 15 picks. That gives Florida a wide array of guys to potentially settle on.
It’s all hypothesis at this point, but the drama on draft day could be sky high for the Panthers and any of the teams (outside of Buffalo perhaps) in the top 10.
Former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has been without a job for almost a full day and his list of suitors continues to grow.
You can add Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning to the list of people taking a shine to Bylsma. As Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun shares, he has his hands full getting settled into his own new job but Disco Dan is on his radar.
“We’ve been in meetings all day, so we haven’t had a chance to really sit down and talk about it,” Benning said Friday afternoon of Bylsma’s sudden availability. “But he’s an interesting name, for sure.”
The Canucks have been in search of a new coach since they fired John Tortorella following the season. After such a poor and disappointing season, they’re in need of a new and better direction. Bylsma suddenly being available changes things up.
It was believed Willie Desjardins, head coach of the AHL Texas Stars, was one of the leading candidates for the Canucks job, but the Stars are in the Calder Cup Finals so he hasn’t been available to interview. Now with Bylsma available and Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon already taking a shine to him, the Canucks may be pressed for time to make a decision.
The Florida Panthers are still without a head coach after parting ways with Peter Horachek, but GM Dale Tallon is building up a list of candidates.
Harvey Fialkov of The Sun Sentinel reports the team will talk with Montreal Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant and Detroit Red Wings assistant Bill Peters about their coaching opening.
Those two are added to a list including former Stanley Cup winning coach Marc Crawford and former Rangers/Oilers coach and current Wings assistant Tom Renney.
Tallon has history with Peters from his days with the Chicago Blackhawks organization. Peters was hired to coach the ‘Hawks’ farm team in Rockford in 2008 while Tallon was the GM in Chicago.
Gallant has some NHL coaching history as he was an assistant in Columbus and with the New York Islanders and was head coach of the Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons. He replaced Doug MacLean during the 2003-04 season and was fired after 20 games in 2006 before being replaced by Ken Hitchcock.
Since then, he spent three years coaching the St. John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL and has been Michel Therrien’s assistant the past two seasons in Montreal.