SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers have solidified their coaching staff and will employ four assistant coaches to work under new head coach Gerard Gallant.
Former minor league head coaches Mark Morris and Mike Kelly have been hired to work under Gallant while the Panthers elected to bring back goalie coach Robb Tallas for a sixth season behind the Florida bench.
These moves mean that Brian Skrudland will return to his role as Florida’s director of player development. Skrudland was called upon to join the Panthers coaching ranks under interim head coach Peter Horacheck last season following the dismissal of Kevin Dineen.
The fourth assistant coach will be John Madden who was also hired to work on Horacheck’s staff a season ago.
“We are pleased to welcome Mike and Mark to our coaching staff,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. “They bring to our club a wealth of hockey knowledge and experience and will be the perfect fit to work together with Gerard, John and Robb.
Morris spent the last eight seasons as the head coach of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, the top minor league team for the Los Angeles Kings. Morris has been praised by Kings general manager Dean Lombardi for playing a big part in the development of several key pieces to the Kings’ Stanley Cup winning teams.
“He’s good at developing young defensemen and that was very important to us,” Tallon said. “We have a lot of good, young defensemen in our system.”
Kelly has coached with Gallant before, working as an assistant on his staff for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The pair had much success together at Saint John, winning a pair of QMJHL championships (2011, 2012) as well as the 2011 Memorial Cup.
Following Gallant’s departure, Kelly took over as head coach and general manager in addition to his role as director of hockey operations.
Before coaching with Saint John, Kelly gained some NHL experience working as an assistant under Alain Vigneault for the Vancouver Canucks in 2007 and 2008.
“[Kelly and Gallant] had success in Saint John together and are very comfortable coaching together,” said Tallon. “We have a top-notch coaching staff.