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With ‘great ability to work with young players,’ Gallant takes over promising Panthers

Saint John Sea Dogs v Mississauga St. Michael's Majors

MISSISSAUGA, CANADA - MAY 20: Head coach Gerard Gallant of the Saint John Sea Dogs voices his displeasure against the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the opening game of the 2011 Mastercard Memorial Cup at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Canada. The Sea Dogs defeated the Majors 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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Gerard Gallant was introduced as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers today.

We’d like to say it was a riveting press conference with all sorts of interesting quotes coming out of it; alas, it wasn’t. General manager Dale Tallon lauded Gallant for his honesty, integrity and fun-loving attitude. He said Gallant has a “great ability to work with young players,” and that the Panthers have “a lot of young players that need this kind of coach.”

Likewise, Gallant was excited at the opportunity to be a head coach in the NHL again, and he thinks that Florida, loaded with young prospects, has a bright future.

If you didn’t get to see it yourself, don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything shocking.

But today’s predictable press conference aside, the Panthers are indeed a team to watch this offseason, starting this week when nobody would be shocked if they traded their first overall pick, and then a few days later in free agency when their new owner’s wallet could be put to serious use.

And if Florida can add some useful veterans to its mix of blue-chip prospects (Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov, etc.), it could also be a team to watch next season. Remember that the Panthers have Roberto Luongo now, and that below-average goaltending was one of the big reasons they struggled so badly in 2013 and 2013-14.

Related: Huberdeau ‘excited’ to be reunited with junior coach Gallant