The Florida Panthers weren't without a coach for long.
The Panthers announced Monday morning that they have signed former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville to replace Bob Boughner behind the bench. The news comes just one day after the team fired Boughner, who had coached the club for only two seasons. Boughner went 80-62-22 over those two seasons, missing the playoffs in both years.
Boughner's firing doesn't entirely come as a surprise considering the Panthers' disappointing season. Despite career years from several players, the team finished fifth in the Atlantic Division with 86 points, a 10-point drop-off from where they finished last season. The Panthers will now be looking to hire their fourth coach in as many years, and they seem to have a strong idea of what they're looking for in his replacement.
In the team's release announcing Boughner's firing, Panthers president of hockey operations & general manager Dale Tallon said he'd be looking for "a transformative, experienced head coach with Stanley Cup pedigree to lead our team going forward."
Quenneville fits the bill, and it didn't take long for the two sides to get a deal done.
"Joel is a three-time Stanley Cup champion head coach who will be a transformative leader for the Florida Panthers franchise," said Tallon. "We've seized the opportunity to add one of the most successful head coaches in hockey history and we're thrilled that Joel has agreed to take on the challenge of leading our promising young team. I've worked with Joel previously and have seen firsthand how his passion for the game, head coaching experience and leadership can impact an organization. Joel will accelerate our growth into a club that qualifies for the playoffs consistently and competes every year toward our goal of winning the Stanley Cup."
According to ESPN, the deal with Florida could pay Quenneville more than $6 million annually with bonuses, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the league. Toronto's Mike Babcock sits in the top spot at roughly $6.25 million per year.
This is the second time that Tallon has hired Quenneville to be his head coach. Tallon hired Quenneville to take over for Quenneville to Denis Savard in Chicago in 2008. Quenneville went on to win three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks in a six-year span. He was fired by the club in November.
Quenneville, 60, is the second-winningest coach in NHL history with a career record of 890-532-214. His latest challenge will be taking over a Florida club that hasn't accomplished much recently despite possessing a talented young core with elite offensive talents like Aleksandr Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. Coach Q will be tasked at getting the most out of his group and leading them back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Florida hasn't won a postseason series since 1996, when they were swept in the Stanley Cup Final by the Colorado Avalanche.