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Florida Panthers Sign John McFarland ... Coaching Search Looks Familiar So Far

Torchetti Good afternoon folks, hope all is well.

Been busy doing other things the past few days, but it's time to clear the notebook.

First, the big news around the Panthers is the team asking Atlanta for permission to speak to John Torchetti for the vacant head coaching gig.

Mike Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (yeah, I never heard of him either) spoke with Atlanta GM Rick Dudley where it was revealed that the Panthers want to talk to Torch. Dudley said he would allow Minnesota permission to speak with him as well.

Obviously, Torchetti is known around South Florida. Torchetti was the Panthers interim coach in 2004, losing his job in the Mike Keenan/Jacques Martin combo deal following that season. Oh yeah, Dudley lost his job during that power play as well.

Torchetti is also known to Dale Tallon as he was an assistant coach on Chicago's Stanley Cup winning team last summer.

If Torchetti is hired, would he be considered the 11th coach in franchise history since he already is the eighth?

This is still a long way from being settled.

Mcfarland -- The Panthers have been real busy getting their prospects signed, adding forward John McFarland on Thursday.

McFarland was selected by the Panthers in the second round of last year's draft. Florida had earlier signed Quinton Howden (a first round pick in 2010) and defenseman Alex Petrovic (second round 2010).

I don't think that any of those three will make the Panthers out of training camp, but they will all have a chance to. Especially the forwards.

I was told a few weeks ago that Erik Gudbranson is expected to be signed before the team's rookie development camp which will be held in Coral Springs in July. Center Nick Bjugstad isn't expected to be signed by the team this year as he plans to return to the University of Minnesota for his sophomore season.