Panthers hire Paul Maurice as head coach

The Florida Panthers hired Paul Maurice as head coach, the club announced Wednesday. His three-year contract with the Panthers is worth just under $4 million per season, sources told The Athletic.

Maurice, 55, was previously the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets. He coached the franchise for nearly nine full seasons before resigning partway through the 2021-22 campaign. Maurice said the resignation was his decision and he felt the Jets needed a new voice. Maurice has also coached the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“At the completion of our season, we began an in-depth examination of all aspects of our team. After taking the appropriate amount of time for analysis, we determined that we needed the perfect fit to continue with the growth of our players and stay on the path for our franchise goals,” Florida general manager Bill Zito said in a release. “Paul’s experience and intellect were just what we were looking for and we are thrilled for him to step into the role of head coach.”

Maurice succeeds Andrew Brunette, who served as interim head coach for the Panthers. Brunette could still remain in the organization, sources told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, but his future is unclear. Brunette took over for Joel Quenneville, who resigned for his role in the Blackhawks sexual assault scandal involving a video coach and former draft pick Kyle Beach.

Brunette had a 51-18-6 record with the Panthers, helping them win the Presidents’ Trophy and achieve their greatest regular season. The 48-year old was even nominated for the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year.

The Panthers, however, were swept in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

(Photo: James Carey Lauder / USA Today)

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