The Miami Herald has just reported that Montreal Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant was hired today to be the Florida Panthers new head coach. The Herald is citing a “high ranking source within the organization”. The announcement has not officially been made but the team is reportedly going to make the announcement and introduction on Monday morning at the BB&T Center according to the Herald report.
Gallant has coached the Columbus Blue Jackets for three seasons on and off from 2004 through 2006. In his years with the Jackets, Gallant was 56-76-6.
In April the Florida Panthers terminated Peter Horacheck, who served as the interim head coach. Gallant began as a junior coach in 1995 after playing eleven seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning. He has been an NHL assistant for seven seasons with the New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Montreal Canadiens. He has also coached in the Canadian Junior League.
Gallant was drafted by the Red Wings in the 1981 NHL Draft. He scored 211 goals in 615 games for the Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning playing left wing.
In February the Panthers fired head coach Kevin Dineen who was 56-62 in three seasons with the Panthers. The team also fired assistant coaches Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsey. The Panthers finished the 2013 season 29-45. In 2012, Dineen led the team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs losing to the New Jersey Devils in seven games. It was the first time in 12 years that the Panthers had made the post-season. The Devils went on to earn the Eastern Conference Championship.
Gallant will become the 13th head coach in Panther history. He is 50 years old.