In a somewhat shocking step Florida The Panthers have reportedly hired Paul Maurice as their next head coach.replacing interim bench boss Andrew Brunet.
Brunet led the Panthers to a league-leading record and the President’s Trophy and was a finalist for Jack Adams (NHL Coach of the Year) in the 2021-2022 season, but the team lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.
Brunet replaced Joel Quenneville in October 2021 after he resigned due to his connection to the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal involving Kyle Beach that occurred during his tenure with the team. In 75 games, the Panthers compiled a 51–18–6 record under Brunet’s watch.
Many considered Brunet a lock to keep his job as the Panthers fought their way through the NHL’s most competitive division, becoming the first team this century to average more than four goals per game. ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun first reported that Brunette could stay with the organization in a different role.
Maurice was recently the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets before resigning in December 2021, telling reporters the team needed a new voice. With 775 career wins, Maurice has the pedigree and experience the Panthers were likely looking for as a longer-term replacement for Quenneville.
It’s certainly a surprise move from the Panthers, who seemed to have turned the corner with a forward-thinking head coach and a mix of veterans and up-and-coming stars poised to bounce back from their first crushing playoff loss. If Brunette were to be replaced due to being overwhelmed by Lightning, it would be a cold business decision that can often come across as bleak and unnerving, especially for trainers.
Maurice will lead a talented group with most of its key elements locked down for at least the next couple of seasons.
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