The Panthers announced early this morning that they have hired former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville to be their next head coach.
Quenneville was fired earlier this season by Chicago and was believed to be a contender to be head coach in Philadelphia.
As Larry Brooks notes, the Panthers have long been believed to be major players for Artemi Panarin this summer and Panarin was coached by Quenneville in Chicago. (NY Post)
Quenneville’s deal with Florida is believed to be worth more than $30 million over five years and “tells you how aggressive/committed the Panthers are at making this off-season count.” (LeBrun)
Adam Rotter: The belief from some around the league is that Panarin’s top choices are, in some order, the Rangers, Panthers and Blackhawks. LA may also be in the running but they have to undergo some pretty serious roster surgery to fit him in. While many think Panarin will end up with the Rangers, the Panthers are believed to be serious about making a splash this summer and could offer him the most money. Florida does have to make some moves to clear cap space, especially if they want Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, but some believe they may include some picks or prospects to move some tougher contracts. By all accounts Quenneville and Panarin had a really good relationship from their time in Chicago and Quenneville was livid when he heard Panarin was being traded to Columbus. That history probably bodes well for the Panthers and may mean more, since it’s a day to day and game to game relationship of knowing what to expect, than Panarin’s relationship with John Davidson if Davidson leaves Columbus to become President of the Rangers. It will ultimately be up to Panarin but the Rangers are going to have very serious competition to land him on July 1. One thing to watch with Florida is them trying to make a move for Panarin, and maybe Bobrovsky, at the draft or before July 1 so that they can offer an 8th-year rather than 7 on the UFA market. They did something similar, albeit on a 7-year contract, when they acquired Keith Yandle from the Rangers and stopped him from becoming a UFA.