Florida Panthers hiring ex-Jets coach Paul Maurice

TAMPA, Fla. — Paul Maurice has been hired as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers, replacing interim coach Andrew Brunette, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Maurice, 55, left the Winnipeg Jets after 29 games this season, ending a nine-year stint with the franchise. He has coached 1,685 NHL regular season games, the fourth most games in NHL history, and is seventh in career wins with 775. He previously coached the Jets, Hurricanes Carolina, Hartford Whalers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

That experience was a key factor in his hiring in Florida, according to a source. While other coaching candidates were rumored, the Panthers focused on Maurice when there was mutual interest, controlling him on everything from his player management to his on-ice tactics.

Brunette replaced Joel Quenneville as head coach on October 29, 2021. Quenneville resigned after the release of a report detailing how the Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that a player was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach in 2010, when Quenneville was the team’s head coach.

Brunette was on track to receive a contract extension ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He led the Panthers to the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top regular-season team. They were the NHL’s highest scoring team since the 1995-96 season. Brunette became the first interim coach since Craig Berube of the St. Louis Blues in 2019 to earn a Jack Adams nomination.

The Panthers knocked out the Washington Capitals in six games for the franchise’s first playoff series win since 1996. But the Panthers were swept away by rival Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round, scoring just three goals in the series. Brunette’s training decisions were questioned, leading the Panthers to explore other options in the offseason.

Brunette is expected to be offered a chance to stay in the organization.

Maurice signed a multi-year contract.

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