The Florida Panthers are the first team to make an offseason coaching change, dismissing Bob Boughner after serving as bench boss for the past two seasons.
In related news, the Panthers are believed to be interested in Joel Quenneville as their next head coach. Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon worked with Quenneville in Chicago, with Tallon expressing the desire to hire a “transformative, experienced head coach with Stanley Cup pedigree.”
#FlaPanthers say they want a coach with ‘Stanley Cup pedigree’ and have an owner who wants and says he is willing to pay Joel Quenneville. Press conference Monday.
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) April 7, 2019
The Panthers boasted a top-10 offense this past season that included two 90+ point scorers in Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau and three 30-goal scorers in Mike Hoffman, Barkov, and Huberdeau. The problem is that the Panthers couldn’t keep the puck out of the net, allowing the fourth-most goals (273) in the league. Hiring Quenneville might help improve that goals-against total, but the Panthers are also expected to try to make a big splash in free agency.
There are the lingering rumors about signing Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin, but signing another top-4 defenseman might go a long way in improving this team’s fortunes. That might be a better strategy for the Panthers than adding Panarin, even if he has expressed a desire to take his talents to South Beach.
Even though there are the obvious ties with Tallon, Coach Q shouldn’t be considered a shoo-in to be behind the Panthers’ bench next season. For starters, several other teams will no doubt make attractive offers. In addition, Quenneville will still be earning $5 million next season from the Blackhawks and may still decide to take the season off.
This won’t be the last we discuss the Panthers this offseason. It sounds as if there are many more changes coming that will at least have a ripple effect on the current roster.
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