Hockey / Sports

Panthers add Gallant, Peters to coaching candidate list, according to source

Just because Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon spent the last few days in Toronto at the NHL Scouting Combine, where he has been checking out potential draft picks, doesn't mean he's not continuing his search for a head coach.

A few new names have been added to the Panthers' candidate list, including Detroit Red Wings assistant Bill Peters and Montreal Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant, according to a source close to the team.

They've either been interviewed or are scheduled to be, with Peters having ties to Tallon from their years together in the Chicago Blackhawks' organization.

Tallon is expected to hire a new coach before the June 27 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia, and possibly as early as next week. Peters, who just concluded his third season behind the Red Wings' bench under coach Mike Babcock, coached the Rockford Ice Hogs, the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, from 2008-11 where he compiled a 122-97-7-14 record that included two short-lived (0-8) playoff appearances.

Tallon was the Blackhawks general manager when he hired Peters to take over the Ice Hogs in 2008, a season after he coached the Spokane Chiefs to the Western Hockey League championship.

During his time in Rockford, Peters, 48, a defensive specialist, helped send 28 players to the NHL, including three members of the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks -- goalie Antti Niemi and defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jordan Hendry.

Gallant, 50, also has ties with the Red Wings, who drafted him in 1981 and where the right wing played for the first nine years of his 11-year career, amassing 207 goals. He cut his coaching teeth in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he guided the mighty Saint John Sea Dogs to three consecutive playoff finals, winning two President Cup championships, both with young Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau leading the way.

Gallant has eight years of NHL coaching experience, including two-plus seasons as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2003 to '06, where he compiled a 56-76-4 record with six overtime losses and no playoff berths.

The Panthers have also shown interest in former Avalanche/Canucks/Kings coach Marc Crawford and former Rangers/Oilers coach Tom Renney, who's currently an associate coach of the Red Wings.

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