The Florida Panthers have found their man.
The team has named former Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant as new head coach, confirming the news via Twitter on Saturday.
Gallant becomes the third Panthers bench boss in the last 12 months. Kevin Dineen began 2013-14 as the team's coach, but was fired on Nov. 8.
Peter Horachek was named interim head coach upon Dineen's dismissal, but was unable to turn the team's fortunes around.
The Panthers went 26-36-4 under Horachek and finished the season with a 29-45-8 record, the second-worst in the Eastern Conference.
“He is an individual with tremendous character, integrity and a strong passion for the game and has experience as an NHL head coach," Panthers general manager Dalle Tallon said Saturday.
"Gerard is an excellent teacher and motivator who possesses the leadership qualities and hockey knowledge that are necessary to lead our team.”
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.