MIAMI – The Florida Panthers have hired Kevin Dineen to take over as coach, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because Florida hasn’t announced the move. The Panthers say they will introduce their next coach on Wednesday.
Dineen spent parts of 19 seasons in the NHL, scoring 355 goals. His father is former NHL player and coach Bill Dineen, and brothers Gord and Peter also played in the league.
Kevin Dineen has coached the Portland Pirates in the American Hockey League for the last six seasons. He takes over for Peter DeBoer, who was fired April 10, one day after the Panthers finished their 10th straight season without a playoff appearance. Florida’s 72 points were worst in the Eastern Conference and the third-fewest in the 30-team NHL.
“These decisions are always tough to make, but we felt strongly that it was the right time to make a change,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said.
Nearly two months later, Tallon—who has stockpiled draft picks in an effort to turn the Panthers’ fortunes around—found who he thought was the right man for the job.
The Panthers won only eight of 33 games following the all-star break, around the time Tallon essentially decided to become a seller instead of a buyer. Florida made eight trades in February alone, loading up with draft picks and future prospects by shipping away players such as Michael Frolik, Cory Stillman, Bryan McCabe, Chris Higgins, Dennis Wideman and Radek Dvorak.
Dineen went 266-155-59 with the AHL team in Portland, the best mark of any coach in that club’s history.
Tim Reynolds can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds