But who is the right guy? An experienced coach? An assistant coach right now, someone whose main job it is to be very hands-on, personal with the players?
The Sun Sentinel reported last night that there is a pretty solid list hanging in the Panthers front office. Now that GM Tallon has returned from his European scouting trip, they can start the interviewing process.
In this article, the Sun Sentinel reporter Harvey Fialkov lists some perspective names that could be on the Panthers' short list.
Here are my top three choices from his list:
Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland: Tallon hired the fiery New Jersey native in 2008 after Haviland led minor league teams to the playoffs in each of his seven seasons in charge.
"[Haviland] knows the players' M.O., knows a lot of their strengths and weaknesses, knows basically how to approach them," Quenneville said.
TSN analyst Craig MacTavish: The brash, experienced coach with four Stanley Cup rings as a player compiled a 301-252-47-56 record in eight years as the Oilers' coach, including a run to the Cup finals in 2005-06. He's in the running for the coaching vacancy in Minnesota.
Red Wings assistant Paul MacLean: If Tallon wants a coach who knows how to put the puck in the net and teach offense, then the former power-play specialist with 324 goals could be ideal on the offensively challenged Panthers. The Mike Babcock disciple reached the Stanley Cup finals on the Ducks' coaching staff in 2002-03 and then won the Cup with the Red Wings' staff in 2007-08.
I think Haviland would make a good choice because he knows how to coach and handle young personalities. That is a crucial element for the Florida Panthers, and having a guy who can mold these young players makes all the difference. His prior working relationship with Tallon could help his chances.
MacTavish may be my favorite horse in this race. He would have a ring as a coach if it wasn't for Andrew Ladd running into and injuring G Dwayne Roloson in the 2005-2006 Stanley Cup Finals. He knows how to win and is a great motivator. Only problem is, he has a few teams calling this year.
MacLean is another guy, who like Haviland knows how to handles players. Plus, he is the Asst. to one of the best coaches in the game right now, Mike Babcock. If he shares the same system views and techniques, it would be a good match for Florida.
If I had to choose now, I would say that MacTavish gets the job offer, but if MacT goes to another team, Haviland will be the coach on the fact that Tallon has worked with him before. A GM who feels like he can trust his coach and can be comfortable with him is a happy GM.