The Florida Panthers determined on a brand new head trainer Wednesday, unexpected some observers by means of now not making intervening time trainer Andrew Brunette an everlasting fixture at the back of their bench, however as an alternative going with veteran Paul Maurice.
There are many nice head training applicants available in the market – Brunette integrated – however it is sensible that Panthers GM Invoice Zito determined on Maurice, who has 1,665 video games of NHL revel in, in addition to two convention ultimate appearances and one Stanley Cup Ultimate to his credit score. For this Florida crew, at this level in its aggressive cycle, Zito didn’t need somebody finding out at the process. And Maurice brings a fab, calm issue that the veteran-laden Panthers roster can emulate at the ice.
Zito may just’ve long past off the mainstream trail and long past with an unproven commodity, the way in which the Edmonton Oilers did this previous season after they changed Dave Tippett with Jay Woodcroft. Then again, sticking with Brunette, particularly after the Panthers have been steamrolled by means of Tampa Bay in a second-round sweep this spring, used to be obviously now not Zito’s first selection. There might come an afternoon when Brunette is the suitable selection for a franchise, however the longer the hiring procedure took, the extra it was obvious Zito sought after somebody who has been throughout the wringer earlier than, and got here out of it with a sound Cup frontrunner.
With that mentioned, believe: the 55-year-old Maurice has, remarkably within the trade, coached greater than 23 seasons on the NHL stage. He’s observed all of it. He’s additionally some of the uncommon breeds of coaches who can take a step again and declare duty for his sure effects, or lack thereof. That’s what he did one-third of the way in which throughout the 2021-22 marketing campaign, stepping down as Winnipeg’s head trainer after 8 seasons guiding the Jets. Maurice identified a malaise that had crept into the dressing room, and he understood he couldn’t get them over the hump, so he left, regardless of having time period left on a freelance extension he signed in February of 2020.
Are you aware what number of coaches would’ve left out the caution indicators Maurice noticed and easily carried on below the phrases in their contract? I do know a couple of. Task safety is so laborious to get within the modern day NHL, maximum coaches – who, let’s face it, have some form of ego – don’t seem to be going to voluntarily give it up. Demonstrating he may just do this confirmed guts and adulthood on Maurice’s phase.
However the perception Maurice used to be burnt out after his time in Winnipeg used to be all the time difficult to place a lot inventory in. We’re speaking a couple of hockey lifer right here. Finally, he took a wreck of about part a yr, and now he’s again, with a crew that posted the most efficient regular-season file (58-18-6) in all of the league remaining season.
Not anything towards Winnipeg or its pretty voters, however that’s a step up for Maurice. The Jets might be within the combine for a playoff spot within the Central Department subsequent yr regardless of who they rent as Maurice’s everlasting substitute, however few be expecting them to be on the best of any team of standings. The Panthers, then again, might be anticipating Maurice to push them deep into the post-season. Not anything not up to a convention ultimate look will suffice for Zito et al. That’s a problem Maurice without a doubt welcomes.
The Panthers have simply $3 million in salary-cap house this summer season, and they’ve handiest 17 gamers below contract. Zito is most likely involved in transferring goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, however the goalie’s 4 years and $40-million left on his contract makes Zito most likely the one NHL GM involved in transferring it. If Florida has any hope of bringing again superstar ahead Claude Giroux, the Panthers are going to must sacrifice different cogs; for example, winger Patric Hornqvist may well be moved, even though he has a changed no-trade clause. In spite of everything, Florida goes to be stripped of a few of its intensity in 2022-23. Maurice must do extra with much less.
Is he as much as the problem? We expect he’s. You don’t get to train just about a quarter-century in hockey’s easiest league in the event you’re now not all the time finding out and adapting. That’s a energy you’ll handiest display over the years. That’s what Brunette didn’t have.
The Panthers after all were given out of the primary around this season. The remaining time they did that used to be in 1995-96 – Maurice’s first yr as an NHL head trainer. That’s how lengthy he’s been within the trenches, and that wealth of revel in is what Zito is banking on.