Tom Rowe will not remain the head coach of the Florida Panthers.
The Florida Panthers’ 2016-17 season has been very disappointing. Going into the season, they were expected to be Stanley Cup contenders. The Panthers took a roster which won the Atlantic Division in 2015-16 and added some huge improvements. However, Florida dug themselves into a hole and couldn’t get themselves out of it. Associate General Manager Tom Rowe took over for Gerard Gallant after a rough road trip ending in Carolina. The Panthers won’t be keeping him as their head coach, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Despite this decision, Florida will keep Rowe within their organization. He will most likely be moving back upstairs. If Rowe doesn’t remain in their front office, he could return as an assistant coach or perhaps their AHL head coach. This gives closure to an awkward situation and both parties can move forward.
The Panthers must figure out what went wrong this season and fix it. Despite underachieving, Florida has a fairly promising future. They have most of their young players locked up long-term. The Panthers must re-sign star wing Jonathan Huberdeau, but other than him and Jaromir Jagr, most of their forwards are signed to long-term deals. Florida also must decide what to do with Alex Petrovic and Mark Pysyk. Both are restricted free agents. One of those two players could be lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in this summer’s NHL expansion draft.
Florida’s season came unraveled thanks to a rash of injuries. They rarely skated a fully healthy lineup, with Huberdeau, Aaron Ekbla, Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad each missing significant time. With better health, the Panthers could make a quick turnaround next season. But first, they must figure out who their next head coach will be.