The Florida Panthers announced their new coaching staff for the 2019-20 season on Tuesday.
Florida added Mike Kitchen, Andrew Brunette and Derek MacKenzie as assistant coaches. The team also announced that goaltending coach Robb Tallas will be back for an 11th season. All four coaches will work under new head coach Joel Quenneville, who was hired in April.
Kitchen comes with plenty of coaching experience, including a previous stint with the Panthers. The 63-year old was an assistant coach for Florida from 2007-2010. Kitchen's most recent work came with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2017 as an assistant coach. Kitchen previously worked under Quenneville with the St. Louis Blues, as well as with the Blackhawks. The tandem of Kitchen and Quenneville helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015.
Brunette comes to Florida after a long stay with the Minnesota Wild. While with the Wild, Brunette served in a number of different capacities including assistant coach. The 45-year old also was in the front office for Minnesota as an assistant general manager and director of player personnel. That experience should be a great asset to Florida, as it continues to evaluate an evolving roster of talent.
"We have assembled a talented coaching staff with unique perspectives and a wealth of hockey experience," said Quenneville. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a proven coach and a quality person like Mike Kitchen again, as well as Andrew Brunette who is a bright, young, hockey mind who I coached as a player."
MacKenzie's playing career came to an end in the 2018-19 season, when he suffered a shoulder injury. The former Florida captain ended up playing in 304 games for the team, where he tallied 54 points. MacKenzie spent time in an unofficial assistant coaching role last season, following his injury.
"It's exciting to welcome former Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie to our staff as he enters the NHL coaching ranks following a great playing career. Together with longtime goaltending coach Robb Tallas, we are motivated by the task ahead of us," Quenneville said. "Our staff is eager to begin working towards our goal of bringing playoff hockey back to South Florida."
Florida missed the playoffs this past season and will be looking to make some improvements ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. Putting together the coaching staff is just the first part of what should be a busy off-season.