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COACHING SEARCH CONTINUES: Dale Tallon Says Panthers to Have New Coach Before Draft

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Florida Panthers are closing in on hiring a new coach with the team talking to as many as five candidates.

Although general manager Dale Tallon wouldn't divulge names on Monday afternoon, a source within the organization said former Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, former Vancouver and Colorado coach Marc Crawford and former Columbus coach Gerard Gallant are being seriously considered for the job.

Detroit Red Wing assistants Tom Renney and Bill Peters are also in the conversation.

"They are all different guys and they are all interesting coaches,'' Tallon said. "We'll find the right fit. We met with all of them in New York last week and now we're narrowing things down.

"It's going really good. They all want to come here because of what we have. We have a good young core of players and are committed to winning. They want to be a part of it.''

Tallon said he hoped to finalize the process sometime this week although he wouldn't rule out not making a hire until next week.

The Panthers, Tallon said, will definitely have a new coach in place before next week's NHL draft -- a selection process in which Florida holds the top overall pick.

Tallon is said to be shopping the first selection, adding Monday that "there have been a few nibbles, but nothing serious.''

Trade talk will likely heat up in the days leading up the draft. This year's draft will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia next Friday and Saturday.

"This is an exciting time for us,'' Tallon said.

When interim coach Peter Horachek wasn't retained in April, Tallon said the Panthers wanted a coach who had extensive NHL coaching experience.

Three of the five fit that bill with Bylsma, Crawford and Renney combining to coach over 2100 regular season NHL games 185 postseason games.

Bylsma and Crawford have each led teams to Stanley Cup championships. Crawford's 1996 Avalanche team won title by finishing off a sweep of the Panthers at Miami Arena.

Crawford, 53, spent 14 seasons as an NHL coach with Quebec/Colorado, Colorado, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Dallas. Crawford hasn't coached in the league since being fired by the Stars in 2011 and has spent his time since working as a television analyst and coaching in Switzerland.

Bylsma, 43, whose Penguins won the Cup in 2009, was fired after six successful seasons in Pittsburgh earlier this month. Bylsma left Pittsburgh as the winningest coach in franchise history.

Renney, 59, has spent parts of nine seasons as an NHL head coach with Vancouver, the Rangers and Edmonton. Renney has been an assistant with the Red Wings since leaving the Oilers in 2012.

Peters and Gallant both have loose ties to the Panthers as Peters was hired by Tallon while he was the GM in Chicago to coach the Blackhawks' AHL team in Rockford, Illinois.

Gallant, who coached the Blue Jackets from 2003-06, coached Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau during his Canadian junior years and is currently an assistant in Montreal.

-- The buyout period began Monday morning with teams having to place the player they want to buy out on waivers first.

Florida didn't put any players on waivers on Monday although Tallon wouldn't rule out making such a move later on. Florida has until June 30 to make such a decision.

"We're still debating that,'' Tallon said.

The Panthers bought out the final year of defenseman Filip Kuba's contract last summer.



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I'd say if Bylsma's asking too much go with Marc -no assistants and no losers plz. Crawford is a no nonsense guy seems the most even heeled and very far from a stupid loser. 53 is the perfect age for a coach and don't mix coaching priorities with getting a coach's previous players .

That's 10 more years of proved experience in coaching and life and dealing with different type of players.

I'd be fine with Bylsma or Crawford...sounds like Ekbland may be the guy at #1, not that they'd pick anybody else, but in terms of keeping the pick.

Bylsma PLEASE! Key players will want to follow! Come on Dale!!!

The Panthers brass are fighting and yelling among themselves, don't know who the hell to pick…..haha…not a happy bunch….

I was just going through the list of players who have been bought out over the past couple of years and three of them are former Panthers that Tallon traded away for solid picks/assets; Ballard, Olesz, and Booth. Dale is a shrewd, shrewd man.

Another 3-9 start and he'll get the Booth 2

Soup wants to be traded OUT !!! Jovo wants here…HAHAHA

Has to do with Bylsma and getting his D players? Hmmmm...

3 years ago we made it to the finals because was excitement in the air...no more...Campbell was playing "unhappy" for the last 2 years and it showed . Do we want to hold on both Jovo and Campbell and and get more of the same last 2 years?

Hey Mama, we haven't made the finals since 96, tell your Hubby to post instead, maybe HE knows something about hockey.

Haha...We suck. Dale talks a good game. He isn't going to acquire anyone worth talking about. We hear the same garbage every year. All these great young players that never amount to squat. We have a high draft pick every year. We are the Cavaliers of the NHL. We are the Browns of the NHL.

Way to go Dale!!!

You know why it's taking so long to get a coach? Because none of them want to come here. With all these good young players it shouldn't be this hard to get a decent coach, right? Guess these coaches aren't so sure Dale is going to get the players he seems so confident in getting.

Dale, if you read this..WE WANT BYLSMA!

If is Blasma only my wife will watch the Panthers.If Galant not even her.

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