Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports tweeted this afternoon that the Montreal Canadiens have granted the Florida Panthers permission to talk to Gallant about their vacant head coaching position.
Gallant has been behind the Habs bench for the past two seasons as an assistant coach. He has head coaching experience at the NHL level having led the Columbus Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons from 2003-04 to 2006-07.
The Summerside native was head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs during their glory days, leading them to three straight QMJHL finals appearances, two President’s Cup championships, and a Memorial Cup championship.
Leading the Sea Dogs during those years was Huberdeau who, after winning the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year in 2012-13, is coming off a difficult 2013-14 season that saw him register just 28 points in 69 games.
Surely Gallant’s past experience with Huberdeau is one of the factors in the Panthers wanting to speak to Gallant about the job.
At the QMJHL Entry Draft this past weekend, Huberdeau specifically mentioned Gallant when talking about his play at the NHL level.
“The Sea Dogs really prepared me well for the NHL. I owe a lot to Mike Kelly and Gerard Gallant. We had a really great group of coaches and their support helped a lot of us who are playing pro right now,” said Huberdeau in an article on the QMJHL website.
According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel on Saturday, Gallant, (Red Wings assistant) Bill Peters, Marc Crawford, and Tom Renney are all folks the Panthers have shown interest in.