The Florida Panthers appear to have made the decision to move in a different direction. Despite leading the Panthers to their first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history, the most goals a team has scored in a season since 1995-96, and a 51-18-6 record, interim coach Andrew Brunette has reportedly lost his job behind the bench.
Per many insiders, including TSN’s Darren Dreger and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Panthers will be putting Paul Maurice under contract as the new head coach in Florida. Dreger reports that Maurice signs a three-year contract as the Panthers' new head coach.
Brunette took over after Joel Quenneville resigned on Oct. 28. He is believed to have been offered “significant role” to remain with the team, if he’s interested, per insider Frank Seravalli.
Maurice gets back on the coaching saddle after stepping down from his post a head coach of the Winnipeg Jets last December. He had worked behind their bench for nearly eight years and compiling a 315-223-62 record in 600 games. His 775 career wins places him sixth all-time among NHL coaches (775-680-99). Maurice started his coaching career with the Hartford Whalers in 1995 at age 29. He remained with the organization when it moved to Carolina to become the Hurricanes, until 2003.
Maurice was then hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs to coach their American Hockey League affiliate in 2005, but was promoted to head coach of the Leafs in 2006 after the team fired Pat Quinn, working two seasons in Toronto. He then returned to Carolina in December 2008, and remained there until he was let go a second time in 2011. He coached one season in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League in 2012-13 before the Jets hired him.
While Maurice has proven to be a great NHL coach, many fans wonder if is it fair to Brunette...
The Panthers made it official later on Wednesday :