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Pick of the litter: Panthers hire Gerard Gallant as coach

Jun 21, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

Gerard Gallant Getty Images

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.

  1. lowenni - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM


  2. canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    The Panthers have made the playoffs 4 times in 20 seasons.

    • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      Love it when people thumbs down facts.

    • storminator16 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM


  3. mshantz22 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Wow. With all the choices available, they ended up choosing Gallant. I thought they fired Horachek because they wanted an experienced coach, and instead they chose a guy who had 3 mediocre seasons of NHL experience? Extremely dissapointed with this pick.

    • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Nobody wants to coach the Panthers.

      All they do is miss the playoffs year after year and churn out head coaches year after year.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        Pretty ballsy coming from a Canucks troll who’s team has won as many Stanley Cups as the Panthers have. Even more embarrassing the Canucks have been to the Cup Finals one more time than the Panthers during the Panthers existence, one of which was during the Panthers inaugural season.

      • mshantz22 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        They’ve also got what the Canucks don’t have, young talented forwards and good weather.

      • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        Actually the Canucks have been to the Finals 2 more times than the Panthers (1982,1994,2011).

      • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        I agree the Panthers have considerably more young talent than the Canucks.

        Doesn’t change the fact that they are one of the most irrelevant franchises in the NHL.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        Hey Canucks troll, re-read what I posted. I said one more time than the Panthers during the Panthers existence. 1982 was only 11 years before the Panthers joined the NHL.

      • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        My bad.

        Although I don’t understand how 2 Finals appearances in 20 years is embarrassing when that is identical to the LA Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston Bruins all of whom have also ONLY made the Finals twice since the Panthers have been in existence.

      • hubeydubeydoo11 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        Im liking the panthers future a lot more then the nucks future…We got the way better deal with lou from you guys and we have talent coming up to build a strong team. Tallon is a solid gm and always makes great moves. In tallon we trust. Our time to shine is coming up, more than what i can say for the Canucks….

  4. jwalsh217 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    sooo when does this guy get fired?

    • desertfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:59 PM


  5. ducksk - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Terrible hire. Terrible

  6. greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    As a Panthers fan, it’s kind of a meh hire. I was hoping for Bylsma the second he was fired. I guess it’s wait and see on Gallant.

    • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      Bylsma didn’t want to coach the Panthers. He was their first choice.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        Actually Bylsma priced himself out of the job. Then again when you’ve won a Cup as a coach and been to the Cup Final one other time, not to mention coaching an Olympic team, and won a Jack Adams award, you can do that.

      • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        Bylsma has only been to the Finals once.

        Michel Therrien coached the 2007-08 Penguins.

      • c9castine - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:47 PM

        while your right bylsma has some leverage other coaches dont he only went the 1 time he won, year before was Therien.

        hard to say why it didnt work between the sides. maybe the panthers were offering much too little money and bylsma figured “why take a gamble for half the money i could make doing nothing”. hard to blame him there, easy though to blme the panthers for even interviewing a guy like that if they never were going to cough up the money to lock up a coach like that.

  7. canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    “I was there for three or four GMs, four coaches and three different owners. I just seemed to stick around and they brought in new guys and a lot of the time they were getting the opportunities.”

    -Former Panther Shawn Matthias describing the Panthers in a nutshell

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      Oh Mathias, you mean that bitter player who was traded to the Canucks as part of the Luongo trade because he’s always has been inconsistent and always under achieved since he’s been in the NHL? How did he work out for the Canucks and his new life with a different team? Oh yeah 3 goals in 18 games, which on that pace with the Canucks, is 14 goals, or his career best with Florida.

      • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:06 PM

        He scored as many goals (14) as Jonathan Huberdeau in 2013.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:15 PM

        Matthias also played 10% more of the season than Huberdeau

      • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:56 PM

        LeBron James

      • c9castine - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        so he did better on another team thanks for pointing that out.

        tell me, who has been consistent for the Panthers? 3 or 4 GMs, 4 coaches, 3 owners….id say less bitter and more just looking for a sane, stable working environment like you and i might see in a place of employment.

  8. bleedrangerblue - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Someone needs to put a rat in the locker room…

  9. dolphanindallas - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    I really could care less whom the coach is. Put a winning product on the ice for us starved Panthers fans for Pete’s sake

  10. thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    People who follow hockey deeply like the hire while the rest mock and question it. Great player, great coach, well deserving of another chance at a head coach gig in the NHL.

  11. bizzmoneyb - Jun 22, 2014 at 2:31 AM


  12. w3bstur - Jun 22, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Serious question:

    Which team do you guys think is on a brighter path to future success, the Coyotes or the Panthers, and why?

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Honestly, I think we need 2 weeks to see what happens with Florida. They do have the #1 overall pick, with talk of moving down. There was even a report a couple weeks ago Tallon was thinking of trading back twice. I guess it all depends on who they get in a trade moving down.

      Also, new ownership had said it’s willing to spend the money necessary to put a winning product on the ice. According to they have a little over $30 million to spend. That’s not counting the little over $7.1 million Brian Campbell is on the books for. He requested a trade supposedly last week. All said and done, it could be close to $38 million on open space for the Panthers to acquire players through trade or sign as free agents.

      In the past all previous owners have been cheap, but it seems like Vincent Viola (let’s be honest, money isn’t an issue to him as he’s a billionaire) is willing to spend. Since he purchased the team late last summer he went out and immediately put the money out for Brad Boyes (who resigned for another 3 years during the season), Tom Gilbert who isn’t going to break the bank, but he at least paid for him, something previous ownership groups wouldn’t have done, and also took on a large part of Roberto Luongo’s contract.

      Things are looking up at least

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