I don’t understand this move. I’ve tried many times to wrap my head around it. Gallant is a good coach, I’d venture to say top 10-15 in the league. He will be the Las Vegas Head Coach next year. Which is why the firing from Florida surprises me.
No, what surprises me is that he won the division last year. In any other sport, hell, on any other team, that grants a few years of leeway. Especially when two of your top 6 have been out all season. Huberdeau and Bjugstad being out, the impact of that cannot be understated.
And yet you fire a good head coach. With no replacement plan. The GM has taken control of the team, in a move that is very reminiscent of dictatorships. Not sure if that’s what the Florida Panthers (or any team in the NHL) needs.
Honestly, there is a best case scenario this year for Gallant. There are many teams in need of help on the bench. Gallant could go to a competitor, help assistant coach, and then move on to Las Vegas next year. That’s what he should do. He’s not going to win a Stanley Cup with the Vegas team anytime soon. But if he joins the Blackhawks or the Canadiens or the Rangers and helps them win, that’s a good sign for his career.
But here’s what I want from Gallant, and it’s a very selfish move. Joel Quenneville is 58 years old. For some weird reason there are rumors he could be retiring soon. I don’t like those rumors. But if that’s true, I want Gallant to join the Blackhawks organization. I want him to stay a member of the Blackhawks organization. Let Kevin Dineen be the Vegas coach. To stay on, and become the successor to Q.
Gallant is that good. He was a Jack Adams nominee last year. I think he can be an excellent coach anywhere, and the fact that he had an injured Panthers team above .500 in a stronger Atlantic (and Eastern Conference) is a testament to his ability.
This reflects more poorly on the Panthers organization than it does Gallant. They abandoned him in Carolina, and Carolina got him home. The Panthers are not the likable franchise people thought they were. Honestly, if you’re not rooting for the Lightning in the Florida “rivalry”, you’re wrong. I think the Florida Panthers are a different organization with Dale Tallon not GM, and that needs to change.
On one hand, if Gallant does join the Blackhawks organization, I absolutely love this move. On the other, if he joins any other team it’s a dumb move and I hate it and the Panthers. I think I’m just selfish, though.