SUNRISE, Fla. – Bill Zito has kept extremely busy during the two months that have passed since he was hired by the Florida Panthers to be the team’s general manager.
He immediately began re-shaping the Panthers from the top down, making several changes to the roster and to the executives who he is working with in the front office.
On Monday, the team officially announced a pair of new additions to Zito’s stable of suits.
Paul Krepelka has been hired as Florida’s Assistant General Manager, and Tom Bark was hired as Assistant to the General Manager.
Krepelka is expected to take on many of the same tasks held by the man he’s replacing, former Assistant GM Eric Joyce, which includes running the team’s American Hockey League roster.
The Panthers changed AHL affiliates over the summer, creating a new partnership with the Charlotte Checkers.
Charlotte had previously been affiliated with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, which just happens to be where Krepelka spent the past two years working as the Senior VP of Hockey Operations.
The familiarity with the Checkers franchise will surely make the transition smoother for both Krepelka and the Charlotte front office.
The Panthers have yet to officially announce what Krepelka or Bark’s responsibilities will be.
“Paul and Tom are crucial additions to our Hockey Operations Staff,” Zito said in a statement released by the team. "Paul joins the Florida Panthers with a wealth of experience from his time in the NHL, ECHL and on the agent side of the hockey business.
“As for Tom, I know him well from our time together in Columbus where he provided exceptional insight on the scouting and evaluation side of the game. I am thrilled to have them both on our team as we prepare for the upcoming season.”
Zito and Bark spent the past five seasons working together in the Blue Jackets front office, where Bark most recently functioned as the Manager of Scouting Operations and Player Evaluation.
Bark’s responsibilities in Columbus were extensive, and he’s very much an ‘analytics guy.’
He has experience in player evaluation and research and development in the hockey ops department, including strategic planning, according to the team.
Krepelka and Bark join a growing group of new faces in the Panthers front office that have been hired by Zito over the past couple months.
Back in September, Florida named Rick Dudley and Paul Fenton as Senior Advisors to the GM, Gregory Campbell VP of Player Personnel and Development and Blake Geoffrion as an Assistant to the GM.