Can Paul Maurice coach Panthers to a Stanley Cup stage?

After already hinting at some, uh, “exterior the field” decision-making at head coach, the Florida Panthers certainly went with an eyebrow-raiser. As an alternative of sticking with interim head coach Andrew Brunette, the Panthers employed… Paul Maurice?

Actually, it is nonetheless slightly baffling. That stated, it isn’t outrageous to image it figuring out.

[Could Peter DeBoer work some magic with the Stars?]

If nothing else, Paul Maurice has a approach with phrases that few NHL head coaches possess. Or, at the very least, few are prepared to embrace the verbose sides of their vocabularies in public.

In speaking up Panthers GM Invoice Zito, you get a style of how good of a salesman Paul Maurice may be.

“The interview course of was fantastic,” Maurice stated, by way of the Related Press. “I have no idea how a lot time you spend with Invoice, however he can jack you up about hockey in about quarter-hour, proper? So, I am in a lather an hour into the assembly and able to go. And that is what drives me, and that is what I really like. Actually sensible, passionate those that wish to placed on not only a nice sport, however an excellent program for the neighborhood. ”

So, ought to Panthers fan take in the joy of Paul Maurice as their new head coach. Or is that this simply one other retread persevering with the NHL’s “Lather. Rinse. Repeat ”cycle of acquainted names and underwhelming outcomes?

Paul Maurice brings expertise to the Florida Panthers, if nothing else

Actually, it may sneak up on you simply how a lot expertise Paul Maurice has as an NHL head coach. Frankly, chances are you’ll agree that such a notion finally turns into a criticism: there is a distinction between getting jobs and doing probably the most with them.

Since 1995-96, Paul Maurice has hardly ever been with out a head teaching gig. With 1,685 regular-season video games of head teaching expertise, Maurice ranks fourth all-time. Distinction that with Andrew Brunette, who took over for Joel Quenneville and sits at 75 regular-season video games of expertise.

[Brunette was also a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, won by Darryl Sutter]

But, Brunette already completed one thing Paul Maurice by no means has as an NHL head coach: he received a Presidents’ Trophy.

Remarkably, Paul Maurice has been behind the bench for extra losses than any coach in NHL historical past: 681.

Have a look at the record of most skilled NHL coaches, and it is uncommon to see many with such skinny NHL playoff resumes. To date, Maurice has coached 92 NHL playoff video games, successful 41. That quantity could solely impress a Panthers franchise that simply received its first playoff collection since Maurice grew to become an NHL head coach in 1995-96.

For coaches with longevity, you must scroll to Ron Wilson to discover a comparable mixture of excessive amount and low high quality.

Pondering components, and the way he cooked them

So, then, how a lot do you blame the groups he coached? Little question, a part of what made Paul Maurice’s longevity sneak below the radar is that he largely coached “small-market” groups. Other than a quick run with the Maple Leafs, Paul Maurice largely coached the Hartford Whalers / Carolina Hurricanes and the Winnipeg Jets.

An NHL head coach can solely accomplish that a lot.

For a big chunk of his profession, you possibly can grade Maurice generously. He was a cook dinner tasked with making meals with restricted components. However does that very same excuse fly as soon as the Winnipeg Jets amassed a group of expertise that grew to become fairly exhausting to disregard?

Mainly since Dustin Byfuglien went from injured to retired, the Jets by no means actually recovered from a structural standpoint.

While you have a look at stars like Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Kyle Connor, their underlying stats look unhealthy sufficient that you simply begin asking virtually existential questions. Are they actually that horrible defensively, or is that this additionally a matter of questionable teaching?

As standard, the answer is doubtless someplace in between. But, when Paul Maurice resigned, it was robust to shake the sensation that he ran out of concepts.

Will he discover convincing solutions for the Panthers the place he failed with the Jets?

Crucial aim: don’t mess up what works

In case you’ve adopted the NHL lengthy sufficient, you may be conditioned to imagine {that a} staff just like the Florida Panthers can solely be high-flying and enjoyable for therefore lengthy. Have a look at the Dallas Stars. As soon as, they have been probably the most thrilling staff within the NHL. After a couple of setbacks, they completely reversed course, and ended up taking pleasure in being boring.

After being swept by the Lightning (and slowed by the Capitals), the Panthers clearly misplaced religion in Andrew Brunette as an NHL-ready head coach.

That is comprehensible, if harsh. However they’d be smart to not gentle every part on fireplace when a lot labored. (In addition to, there are worse issues than dropping to the defending repeat champions, and whereas irritating, these losses weren’t all blowouts.)

[Should Flyers fans be excited about John Tortorella?]

If nothing else, Paul Maurice positive factors reward for a willingness to adapt. In media appearances, he undeniably appears sharp.

So here is hoping he is brilliant sufficient to tweak, somewhat than to make wholesale adjustments. It is honest to marvel with Florida, too.

The Athletic’s Jets beat author Murat Ates supplied an intriguing breakdown of what Panthers followers would possibly count on from Maurice. Amongst different issues, Ates famous that Maurice’s Jets groups targeted on biking the puck somewhat than attacking off of the frenzy.

Realistically, the Panthers have to be extra versatile. At instances, they appeared baffled when the Capitals and particularly Lightning managed to gradual them down.

A complete about-face would not be smart, although. Once more, there is a worry that the Panthers would possibly overreact.

Panthers face some wage cap / free agent hurdles

Ideally, this is able to be that excellent probability for Paul Maurice to indicate that he is truly a superb head coach who simply wanted the best roster. We might really be taught if he has the chops. No extra excuses.

However Invoice Zito and the Panthers face challenges in placing nearly as good a staff on the ice.

Through Cap Pleasant, the Panthers solely have a bit greater than $ 3M in wage cap area, with simply 17 roster spots lined.

That is with Claude Giroux, Ben Chiarot, and breakthrough forechecker Mason Marchment lingering as pending UFAs.

To make issues extra difficult, there are additionally mysteries about future spending. Jonathan Huberdeau’s been a cut price at $ 5.9M, however he wants a brand new contract after 2022-23. MacKenzie Weegar is wildly underrated, and a key catalyst for his or her assault. But his steal of a $ 3.25M cap hit expires after 2022-23, too. Even promising goalie Spencer Knight’s an RFA after subsequent season.

May the Panthers acquire some wiggle room? It is definitely attainable with somebody like Patric Hornqvist ($ 5.3M by means of 2022-23).

[Lightning sweep Panthers in Second Round]

Extra elaborate desires of buying and selling Sergei Bobrovsky appear a bit outlandish, although. Even dreaming large, you’d image bribing a rebuilder with first-rounders to take Bob’s deal.

Sadly, the Panthers traded away a ton of their futures already. Between trades for Sam Reinhart, Claude Giroux, and Ben Chiarot, the Panthers are down three first-rounders.

General, it looks like there are indicators of pressure. Personally, the best concern is that the Panthers determine they wish to flip away from the speedy type that gave them franchise-best outcomes. Such concepts carry up nightmares about buying and selling away Weegar to make room for Chiarot.

That… can be grim.

Maybe the plan is one thing much less excessive.

As a lot of a feel-good story as Anthony Duclair has been, he discovered himself as a wholesome scratch at instances throughout the postseason. Personally, Duclair appears definitely worth the occasional errors at $ 3M per yr. Nevertheless, you possibly can begin to acquire valuable room by buying and selling Duclair and Hornqvist, and doing so wouldn’t completely negate the Panthers’ skill to nonetheless be an attractive, kinetic scoring machine.

In the end, we’ll be taught much more about Paul Maurice and the Florida Panthers quickly sufficient.

Extra NHL Information

‘Too many males on the ice’ debate hangs over Kadri OT aim Kadri’s OT aim provides Avalanche 3-1 collection lead over Lightning Paul Maurice replaces Brunette as Panthers head coach

James O’Brien is a author for Professional Hockey Discuss on NBC Sports activities. Drop him a line at [email protected] or comply with him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Can Paul Maurice coach Panthers to a Stanley Cup stage? initially appeared on NBCSports.com

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