With the regular season over, the time has come for the team who didn’t make the playoffs to start looking into what went wrong. In Florida, the process started with the Panthers naming Dale Tallon as general manager and demoting Tom Rowe.
Rowe had been serving as interim head coach and general manager of the Florida Panthers, but he’s now down to a special adviser to the club after an admittedly muddled process in the front office. Rowe was promoted to the GM sport in May as the replacement to Tallon. Prior to that, Rowe took over as coach when the Panthers parted ways with Gerard Gallant in November of 2016.
In 61 games behind the bench, Rowe was 24-27-10. The Panthers finished 14 points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
But Florida had to know that such a confusing front office was leading to an inconsistent product on the ice, right?
“Especially with folks with military backgrounds, you’d think we’d get chain of command straight,” president and CEO Matt Caldwell said. “We realized the importance of it. Everything was done with the best intentions. We want to win. We want to look at a lot of things that were out there…but I think what we learned is that having a singular voice that listens to everything…and have one single voice that reports to ownership is most important.”
Tallon intends on starting the search for head coach immediately and there are a few options out there, with mid-June as the target date for getting the job done. Gallant will not be back, but many believe the Panthers are looking into Geordie Kinnear from the AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Willie Desjardins and Darryl Sutter are also now available, although Florida’s more likely to do the hiring in-house.
“We’re turning the page on a disappointing season,” Tallon said. “From today, we’re moving forward with a singular voice under my leadership in hockey operations. We’re going to have one agenda, and one agenda only, and that is winning.”