Paul Maurice will be the next head coach of the Florida Panthers, the team announced on Wednesday.
“At the conclusion of our season, we began an in-depth study of all aspects of our team. After spending an appropriate amount of time analyzing, we determined that we needed the perfect fit to continue growing our players and stay on track with our franchise goals,” said Panthers General Manager Bill Zito. “Paul’s experience and intelligence was exactly what we were looking for and we are very pleased to have him step into the role of head coach.”
The former bench boss of the Winnipeg Jets will replace Andrew Brunett, who took over on a temporary basis following the resignation of Joel Quenneville in October. Maurice resigned in December, explaining that the team needed a “new voice”. The 55-year-old has been with the franchise since January 2014 and led them to a 315-223-62 record. He coached the fourth-most games in NHL history (1,684) with four franchises—Winnipeg, Toronto, and Carolina.
The brunette led the Panthers to a 51-18-6 record and helped the franchise earn its first presidential trophy. For his work, Brunet was recognized as a finalist for the 2021–22 Jack Adams Award, which was won by Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter.
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However, the Panthers were not as successful in the Stanley Cup playoffs. After defeating the Washington Capitals in six games, they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A month ago, the season ended for the Panthers, and there was very little movement for Brunet to return and reset his “interim” tag. Over the past week, the team has made changes to the coaching staff, sacking assistants Ulf Samuelsson and Derek McKenzie, but keeping Tuomo Ruuta in the squad – at least for now. Now the position is clear, and Maurice can start creating his own staff.
According to Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoffthe team will offer Brunet, who has one year left on his contract, a “significant role” if he decides to stay with the organization.