Reported first by Nick Kypreos, the Florida Panthers have fired head coach Gerard Gallant. Brian Compton of NHL.com confirms that Gallant has been relieved of his duties. Elliotte Friedman tweets that general manager Tom Rowe will take over for Gallant. Friedman continues that despite an extension, Gallant and the front office were butting heads over the direction of the team. Panthers beat writer George Richards of the Miami Herald tweets that he tried to reach out to Gallant, but the coach had already the stadium left by taxi. The Associated Press, via a tweet from Luke DeCock, confirmed this with photos of Gallant leaving by taxi.
The Panthers are currently 11-10-1 in the Atlantic Division, good enough for fifth place and 23 points. A very busy offseason, however, ratcheted up expectations in Miami, and Gallant appears to be the first major casualty of those expectations. The move has been met with shock, and questions are already beginning to be asked of the front office and their decision to sack Gallant.
Chip Alexander tweets that Gallant met with the media following the Panthers 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes this evening. Yahoo’s Josh Cooper joins a group of puzzled analysts, tweeting that Gallant led the Panthers to 91 points in his first season behind the bench, and then 103 points last season, which included a division title.
Meanwhile, Martin Biron wonders if the Vegas Golden Knights will swoop in and hire Gallant as its first head coach.