The Canadiens have lost an assistant coach. Gerrard Gallant has been named head coach of the Florida Panthers, according to TSN. The move comes after much speculation as the Panthers were granted permission to talk with Gallant once the season had ended. A press conference to introduce him will be held on Monday.
Gallant was hired as part of a new Montreal coaching staff under Michel Therrien back in the summer of 2012 to help rejuvenate a young Canadiens team. Before joining the Canadiens, Gallant spent three seasons as the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. He led them to a Memorial Cup in 2011 and a league record three consecutive 100-point seasons. During his tenure in Saint John, also he won two straight QMJHL and CHL coach of the year awards, which prompted the Canadiens to bring him on board.
It was a wise move as two years later, here we are.
“Obviously we are disappointed to see an individual like Gerard Gallant leave our organisation, but on behalf of the management team and the entire coaching staff I would like to wish Gerard the best of luck as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers. Over the past two years, Gerard has been a valuable asset for us and contributed to the success of our team.” - Marc Bergevin
Gallant becomes the Panthers’ third head coach in 12 months. Kevin Dineen was relieved of his duties on November 8th after managing to guide the team to just 3 wins in 16 games. Peter Horachek was named the interim coach and did not fare much better, getting only 26 wins out of the team in 66 games.
That would not fly under Dale Tallon, who is trying to bring his team out from the basement. The Panthers GM has a knack for scooping up talent. We saw him do it in Chicago and he has begun to do it in Florida since his hiring in 2010.
Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau played under Gallant for all three of his QMJHL seasons.
Gallant joins a group of coaching staff to leave the Canadiens organization in recent years. In 2010 Guy Boucher, who had been head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs, was poached by Steve Yzerman to be the Lightning’s new head coach. The Montreal favourite “Captain” Kirk Muller left his post as Habs assistant coach in 2011 to take over behind the bench of the Carolina Hurricanes. Both Boucher and Muller have since been fired by their teams.
The Canadiens now have another item to add to their checklist this summer: find a new assistant coach. Gerrard Gallant has served us well, helping to gel this young group together. The Panthers are lucky to have scooped him up.
Gallant, who is from Summerside, PEI, played in 615 career NHL games as a forward for the Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning.