The Florida Panthers have been given permission to speak to Montreal assistant coach Gerard Gallant about their vacant head coaching position, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin confirmed on Monday.
Gallant has worked the last two seasons with head coach Michel Therrien behind the bench, after coaching in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs.
He led Saint John to to the Memorial Cup in 2011 and coached them back to the tournament in 2012.
Prior to joining the Sea Dogs, Gallant served as an NHL assistant coach with the New York Islanders during the 2007-08 season. He also spent seven years on the coaching staff of the Columbus Blue Jackets, serving as the team's head coach from 2004 to 2006. He was also behind the bench as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Russia, capturing gold at the tournament.
Before joining the Blue Jackets, Gerard was an assistant coach with the American Hockey League's Louisville Panthers and led the Summerside Western Capitals to a Kent Cup Championship in 1997 as the MJAHL team's head coach.
Gallant appeared in 615 games in the NHL as a member of the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning.