The NHL coaching carousel hasn't been spinning long, but it looks like stops are being made.
The newly minted expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights have named Gerard Gallant as the team's first-ever head coach. The former Blue Jackets bench boss has been around the league a time or two but should be a great fit for the Knights.
There is a great deal of excitement in the hockey community regarding what is happening with the Golden Knights." - Gerard Gallant— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 13, 2017
In his six seasons of coaching, he has made the playoffs only once. Gallant spent parts of three seasons leading the Jackets before being let go early in the 2006-07 season, then worked in the QMJHL and as an NHL assistant before taking over the Florida Panthers in 2014. He was 96-65-25 in his time with the Panthers and coached the team to a playoff appearance last season before being fired in November.
"Being named the 1st head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history is such a tremendous opportunity & one I am extremely grateful for."-Gallant— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 13, 2017
Vegas General Manager George McPhee has experience in the league and let it be known that he looked all over for the right coach. He said as much via the team's press release:
We undertook a very detailed due diligence process over the last several months and canvassed a number of qualified head coaching candidates to ensure we found the best coach for our group. And we believe we have found that coach in Gerard. We look forward to working with him to build a team that our fans and our community are proud to support.
Gallant has respect all over the league and is a good match for an upstart franchise. He brings immediate respect to the club with his experience.
The Golden Knights have a while until they take the ice but the expansion draft takes place June 18-20 with selections announced June 21.
Gallant is the second former Blue Jackets coach to be hired this week, as Wednesday it was announced that his replacement in Columbus, Ken Hitchcock, was hired by Dallas.