While the Pittsburgh Penguins look to capture the first repeat Stanley Cup title since 1998 and the Nashville Predators look to stay alive for a shot at their first championship, the Florida Panthers are looking toward the future.
And they are doing it with Bob Boughner in mind.
Only 46, virtually the same age as Panthers free agent-to-be Jaromir Jagr, Boughner is set to become Florida’s next head coach, according to reports from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, ESPN and other outlets.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon had said he wants a coach who will relate to Florida’s young stable of 20-something budding stars. It appears he may have found that in Boughner, who played for the Panthers’ minor league affiliates in the mid-90s.
The deal to hire the Panthers’ 15th coach in franchise history is expected to be finalized on Monday. TSN first reported that the Panthers and Boughner were closing in on a deal Saturday morning.
An assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks, two-time Memorial Championship winner and two-time Coach of the Year honoree in the Ontario Hockey League, Boughner — apparently known in some circles as “The Boogieman” — would inject the Panthers’ staff with youth after interim man Tom Rowe’s ousting after the 2016-17 regular season.
His youth hasn’t exactly precluded him from interest as a potential head coach in the past, either.
A recent NHL veteran who played more than 600 career games between a half-dozen teams and spent time in the Panthers’ minor-league system, Boughner was a finalist for the Colorado Avalanche’s coaching vacancy an offseason ago, per The Sun-Sentinel.
He’s also still a majority owner of Ontario’s Windsor Spitfires, a team he coached for eight seasons.