The Florida Panthers named Bob Boughner as their head coach on Monday.
The former NHL defenseman becomes the 15th coach in the franchise’s 24-year history, and its fifth since 2011.
“After an exhaustive search, we are pleased to welcome Bob as the new head coach of the Panthers,” general manager Dale Tallon said of the 46-year-old Boughner. “He sees the game in a modern way and is eager to work with our young players.
“During the interview process, Bob blew us away with his preparation, his passion, knowledge and dedication to the game. We believe that he is the right leader to get our team back to competing towards our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
Boughner spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks, working under former Florida coach Peter DeBoer.
“I want to congratulate Bob as he takes this next step in an already distinguished coaching career, and thank him for the contributions he made to our team and many of our individual players,” DeBoer said. “While we hate to lose him, it’s the ultimate compliment to an organization when members of your team are sought out by others.”
“We are extremely happy for Bob and his family,” San Jose general manager Doug Wilson. “This is a terrific opportunity for Bob to become a head coach in the National Hockey League and one that he deserves. We will immediately start the process of reviewing candidates to add to our coaching staff in San Jose.”
The Panthers have been without a coach since April 10, following the firing of interim coach Tom Rowe after a season in which the team posted a 35-36-11 mark to finish 14 points out of a playoff berth. Rowe took over when Florida ousted Gerard Gallant early in the season.
Boughner was teammates with Panthers veteran forward Jaromir Jagr on the Pittsburgh Penguins and has ties to other Florida players.
“I’ve known (Aaron) Ekblad his whole life. I see him all the time during the summer; he’s actually buddies with my son. I see him around the house a lot,” Boughner told Sportsnet last month. “I’ve got some familiarity with that team. I’ve had Derek MacKenzie in Columbus, had (James) Reimer in San Jose, (Mark) Pysyk and (Alex) Petrovic at the Under-18s Ivan Hlinka (Memorial Cup), so (I am) pretty familiar with the team and I think they have a great base moving forward.”
Boughner collected 72 points (15 goals, 57 assists) in 630 games over 10 seasons as a defenseman with the Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Penguins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche. He originally was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round (32nd overall) of the 1989 NHL Draft.
Boughner told the San Jose Mercury News last month he was ready to make the jump from NHL assistant to head coach.