General manager describes Summerside native as ‘ideal fit’ for Panthers
Gerard Gallant inks extension with Florida Panthers.
It didn’t take long for head coach Gerard (Turk) Gallant and the Florida Panthers to agree on a two-year contract extension.
“About a day,” Gallant said Saturday. “It all happened pretty quick.”
It’s been a busy few days for the Panthers, who also resigned executive vice-president and general manager Dale Tallon to a three-year extension, and promoted Tom Rowe to associate general manager. Rowe had been head coach of the Panthers’ AHL affiliate in Portland, Me.
Gallant is now signed through the 2018-19 NHL season.
“He has done an excellent job of creating a winning culture, and developing our young players in his time with the Panthers,” Tallon said. “He is an ideal fit for our group, and we look forward to having him lead our team as we work towards our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
Gallant, who has one year remaining on a deal he signed with Florida in June 2014, said he is “thrilled” to remain with the Panthers.
“The team is playing well, and we are having a real good year so far,” said Gallant, 52. “It’s a real good lifestyle down here, the team is on the upswing and everything is moving forward. I’m real happy.”
In his first season with Florida, Gallant guided the up-and-coming team to a 3829-15 record, a league-high 25-point improvement from the previous season.
The Atlantic Division-leading Panthers, who have won eight in a row and went 11-3 in December, took a 22-12-4 record into Sunday’s game against the Minnesota (20-107).
“We really played 60-minute games, and that was the biggest thing,” said Gallant in assessing the Panthers’ success. “Obviously, our top players on our top lines did some damage offensively, but we won a lot of those games because of tight defensive hockey, good goaltending and solid play.
“I don’t think there was any one reason we turned it around that quick. It was a combination of everything, and everybody played 60minute games - all four lines, six defencemen and both goaltenders. We just have to continue that.”
Florida Panthers head coach Gerard (Turk) Gallant of Summerside lets linesman John Grandt know he is not happy with a call during a game against the Dave Cameron-coached Ottawa Senators on Feb. 21, 2015.