Former NHL Defenseman Bob Boughner Named Florida Panthers Head Coach

The Florida Panthers on Monday announced that former National Hockey League defenseman, Bob Boughner will become the team’s 15th head coach in franchise history.

Boughner, 46, served as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks under Peter Deboer the past two seasons. Prior to working with the Sharks, he served as an assistant coach on Scott Arniel’s, Columbus Blue Jackets staff.

During his eight seasons as a bench boss with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, he guided the team to the Memorial Cup in 2009 and 2010. The Panthers job will be his first stint at the helm in the NHL.

In 630 games, over 10 seasons in the league, the defenseman put up 15 goals and 57 assists. Before hanging up his skates in 2006, he laced them up for Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche.

Boughner said, “I have always wanted to coach at the end of my career. I worked hard at it and spent a lot of time developing players. I put in my time and I am ready. I learned the craft and I have a lot of knowledge of the league. I am going to make the organization proud and I am going to make the fans proud.”

He continued, “I have been thinking of this for a long time. I tried to stay patient, put my time in, worked hard at it which I have done. I feel this is the right people and right group to work with, and sometimes that does not always happen. When these jobs come up you have to accept what is there. I feel like I got the best of both worlds.”

Boughner will replace Tom Rowe at the behind the bench in Sunrise. Rowe was reassigned in the organization on April 10. He had served as the interim coach after the Cats relieved, current Vegas Golden Knights coach, Gerard Gallant of his duties on November 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Panthers finished the 2016-2017 season, 35-26-11 and 14 points out of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The season before, they won the Atlantic Division with their best record in franchise history, before falling to the New York Islanders in the second round of the 2016 playoffs.

General Manager, Dale Tallon pretty much knew that he wanted Boughner as soon as he was finished interviewing him. Tallon mentioned to, that Boughner had come into the process with a couple of stacks of files that included analytical as well as details on his philosophy for the team.

He said, “Bob impressed us like no one else. All the years I have been in the business, Bob was the most prepared. His preparation, his passion, knocked us out of the park.”

Boughner spent three seasons in Pittsburgh, from 1999 to 2001, with current Panthers veteran, Jaromir Jagr. He also has some ties with a couple of other Panthers players.

His son is friends with defenseman, Aaron Ekblad. He coached forward Derek MacKenzie while his was in Columbus, as well as goaltender, James Reimer in San Jose. He also coached defensemen, Mark Pysyk and Alex Petrovic, in the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

Boughner added, “I believe in Dale, I believe in this group. I think we have a lot of great pieces to build a winner. I love the lineup. That is the thing that made me the most excited.”

Boughner also interviewed for the open Sabres job and was a finalist last season for the Avalanche position, before Jared Bednar was named to the bench, following the resignation of Patrick Roy.

DeBoer said, “I want to congratulate Bob, as he takes his 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. While we hate to lose him, it is the ultimate compliment to an organization when members of your team are sought out by others.”

Tallon had interviewed about 15 candidates for the Panthers open coaching position, while talking to about a handful of others. University of Denver head coach, Jim Montgomery and former Montreal Canadiens bench boss, Michel Therrien were amongst those candidates.

He added, “I started off with a list. I made a long list of guys from all walks, junior coaches, college colleges, AHL coaches and assistant coaches, and I wanted guys that were probably newer, not necessarily the most experienced. Being a head coach in the NHL was not really the number one criteria for my list that I put together.”

Tallon continued, “I wanted new voices, new faces, new attitude, more of a contemporary look. I did not want to go back. There were a lot of good coaches that had NHL coaching experience that I had good conversations with, but they were not exactly what I felt was necessary for us moving forward long-term. That was my plan of attack and I identified a lot of names. Obviously, Bob’s was on the list and then we started paring that down. This was the right choice.”

With the hiring of Boughner by the Panthers, only the Sabres do not have a coach in place for the 2017-2018 season.