Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/09/14 at 06:42 PM ET
The Florida Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov reports two important items regarding the Florida Panthers' coaching and draft plans.
First, Filakov reports that the Panthers will interview former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma before circling back to a set of coaches who will speak with the Panthers' new ownership regarding their coaching philosophies...
The Panthers coaching search will pick up steam this week as six front-runners for the vacancy, including fired Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, will meet with the team's brain-trust in New York City, according to a team source.
Other than Bylsma, the other five leading candidates have all met or spoke to General Manager Dale Tallon, but now will also sit down with the team's co-owners, Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, as well as CEO/President Rory Babich.
Those repeaters are believed to be Ron Wilson, Canadiens' assistant Gerard Gallant, former Stanley Cup — winning coach Marc Crawford, and Red Wings' assistants Tom Renney and Bill Peters.
While Filakov continues at significant length regarding the coaching search and the Panthers' hopes that they can land one of Brooks Orpik or Matt Niskanen if Bylsma joins the Panthers, this tidbit about the Panthers' draft plans is a wee bit more newsworthy:
The source also said that if the Panthers don't like any of the many offers they're fielding from other teams regarding their overall No. 1 draft pick, then they're leaning toward selecting 6-foot-3, 218-pound defenseman Aaron Ekblad because he's considered the most NHL-ready of the projected top four prospects.
"Ekblad is this year's player most likely ready to step in and play in the NHL,'' Scott Luce, the Panthers director of scouting, told the Sun Sentinel last week. "He's physically mature and has got lots of mileage underneath him at the OHL level.''
Again, Filakov's article involves much more information regarding the coaching front...
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