MIAMI: The NHL’s Florida Panthers named Bob Boughner their fifth head coach since 2011 on Monday, seeking a revamp after missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
Boughner, a 46-year-old assistant coach for the San Jose Sharks, had been a former NHL defenseman.
He replaces interim coach Tom Rowe, who was axed April 10 after a mark of 35-36 with 11 overtime losses that left Florida 14 points out of a playoff berth. Rowe had taken over when Gerard Gallant was fired early in the campaign.
“I’m thrilled to be here and I look forward to the challenge and the journey ahead,” Boughner said. “I think we have a lot of great pieces here to build something special here in South Florida.”
The Panthers lost the 1996 NHL Finals in only their third season as an expansion club but have not won a playoff series since then, falling in the first round in 1997, 2000, 2012 and last year.
Boughner scored 15 goals over 630 games on the backline for the Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche.
GM Dale Tallon is pleased with how Boughner views the game.
“He sees the game in a modern way and is eager to work with our young players,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said.
“Bob blew us away with his preparation, his passion, knowledge and dedication to the game. We believe he’s the right leader to get our team back to competing towards our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”