SUNRISE, Fla. – A quick update on the Florida Panthers ongoing search for a new general manager.
The Panthers are making some headway in an expedition that began with a pretty extensive list of candidates.
It’s been over two weeks since the team officially parted ways with former general manager Dale Tallon, and calls went out to schedule interviews with potential candidates for the newly vacant role almost immediately afterwards.
Florida's plan was to speak with between 10 and 15 contenders, depending on permissions, availability and mutual interest, according to a league source.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has been as plugged into the Panthers GM search as anyone, reporting that Florida has been connected to former Panthers players Scott Mellanby, the current assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, and Kevin Weekes, a league insider working for NHL Network, as well as New York Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury, former Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Michael Futa and Bill Armstrong, assistant GM of the St. Louis Blues.
Separate reports have linked the Panthers to John Ferguson Jr., executive director of player personnel for the Boston Bruins, Ross Mahoney, the Washington Capitals assistant GM, Laurence Gilman, assistant GM for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and former Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall, who has been working as a part-time advisor in the Kings’ system.
Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider was the first to report that former Panthers goaltender Sean Burke, a current pro scout with the Montreal Canadiens who has worked as the general manager for Team Canada, also interviewed for the job.
Panthers assistant GM Eric Joyce worked closely with Tallon from the time he was hired in 2013 and has served as the GM for Florida’s AHL affiliate for the past six years, so it’s a safe bet that he’s also under consideration for the job.
Local 10 confirmed the interviews with Mellanby, Futa, and Burke have taken place.
A second round of discussions with a small group of finalists are expected to be conducted in the coming days.
So far, Panthers President Matthew Caldwell has been running the interview process, a league source confirmed. NHL insider John Shannon also reported that Michael Viola, son of team owner Vincent Viola, has been involved with the interviews.
The 2020 NHL Draft will take place virtually on Oct. 9 and 10, with the free agency signing period beginning either on Oct. 9 or seven days after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, whichever comes later.
Believe it or not, that's just over six weeks away.
The sooner Florida has its new GM in place, the longer he will be able to prepare for the expedited offseason, because it’s going to be a whirlwind unlike anything any general manager has had to deal with.