Gerard Gallant is going to be the Vegas Golden Knights first head coach.
The NHL is heading to Vegas in 2017. General Manager George McPhee is putting his team together as they prepare for their inaugural season. They have already signed their first player. Now it appears the Vegas Golden Knights are going to hire their first head coach. Former Florida Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant, according to reports, will be heading west.
This is a bit different from McPhee’s usual strategy regarding coaches. With the Washington Capitals, he was famous for not hiring coaches with NHL experience. For some candidates (Bruce Boudreau in particular), this worked great. However, it didn’t for others, such as Adam Oates and Dale Hunter. McPhee’s inability to bring in experienced head coaches is likely what caused his departure in Washington (along with the Filip Forsberg trade).
Gallant should be a great fit in Vegas. He’s a great hockey mind who didn’t work out with the Panthers. Florida dismissed him because Gallant didn’t see eye to eye with the front office. To be fair, the Panthers were perfectly within their rights to do so. The relationship between the coach and the front office matters a lot. If the two sides can’t communicate effectively, there’s no chance of success for either side.
However, Gallant’s entering a pretty unique situation. He’ll have to maximize every ounce of talent Vegas is lucky enough to get. Moreover, Gallant will be charged with the task of making the Golden Knights a team fans want to see. The Golden Knights have a unique market to try to win over. Failure isn’t an option. Gallant should be a good fit for them as one of the best player’s coaches in the NHL.