It's not a stretch to declare this offseason as the most important in the 20-year history of the Florida Panthers. So, that could be the reason why Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon as well as co-owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu do not want to make a hasty decision before hiring their next head coach. The Panthers have the No. 1 draft pick to select or deal by June 27 and nearly $30 million in salary-cap space to shell out on free agents beginning on July 1. They also have to decide whether to give qualifying offers to their own restricted free agents such as Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson, Dylan Olsen, Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Pirri. Their patience may have cost them Peter Laviolette, arguably the most successful and experienced coach on the market, who was quickly grabbed by the Nashville Predators earlier this month. However, another viable candidate has surfaced — Marc Crawford, the former coach of the Colorado Avalanche who led them to a Stanley Cup championship in 1996 over the upstart Panthers.
Crawford on Panthers' coach candidate list, according to source
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | May 17