The Panthers announced on Monday that Dave Barr and Scott Allen would join the team as assistant coaches under Gerard Gallant and current assistant coach Mike Kelly. There has been a vacant coaching spot when the Panthers let go of John Madden – who had been with the team since the 2013-14 season – and they elected to allow Gallant to add an additional member to the staff.
Dave Barr, who is expected to take over the power play duties from Mike Kelly, joins the Panthers after one season with the Buffalo Sabres, 4 seasons with the Devils, 2 with the the Wild, and one with the Avalanche. Prior to the stints as an assistant coach, Barr served as the GM and head coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm for 4 years. As a player, he spent most of his time in the NHL where he recorded 128 goals and 204 assists in 614 games with the Red Wings, among others, where he was teammate of Gerard Gallant.
Scott Allen will also serve as an assistant coach after serving as both the assistant coach and head coach of the Panthers’ AHL affiliate last season. After Tom Rowe was promoted to the Panthers’ associate GM position in January, Allen took over as the Portland Pirates’ head coach to finish out the season. Allen also served as the assistant coach for the AHL affiliate during the 2014-15 an has been in a number of coaching roles since 1996, including when he assumed the New York Islanders assistant coach role from 2009 until 2012.
Geordie Kinnear will replace Allen as the head coach of the Panthers’ new AHL affiliate in Springfield at the start of the upcoming season. Kinnear served as the assistant coach of the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers’ for the past 4 seasons after he was in the same role with the Devils’ AHL affiliate since 2001. During the 2007-08 season, Kinnear was the assistant coach of current Panthers’ GM Tom Rowe who was then the head coach of the Albany River Rats.
Although they have yet to be made official, the Panthers also made some changes to their scouting department over the past several weeks. Scott Luce was let go from the organization in addition to head amateur scout Erin Ginnell, amateur scout Paul Gallagher, amateur scout Craig Demetrick, pro scout Jim McKenzie, and European scout Kent Nilsson.
Since joining the team in 2002, Luce served as Director of Amateur Scouting, Director of Scouting, and most recently, Director of Player Personnel, a position he was promoted to last July. He oversaw many drafts during his time with the Panthers, and in addition to his staff, seemed to have trouble identifying talent outside of the first round. Almost all of the top-tier talent in the organization has come from the first round, with the exception of Vincent Trocheck.
An overwhelming majority of the other selections by the Panthers have either not made it to NHL (or a lesser pro league) or have served in a bottom-6 role, and if you look at the top teams in the league, many can attribute their regular season and post-season success to late-round picks and other diamonds in the rough. The Panthers, for whatever reason, have been one of a few teams in the league that have been unable to find those types of players, and that’s likely what warranted these scouting changes. Management also seems to be high on scouts Jason Bukala and Fred Bandel so it’s likely they’ll see increased roles moving forward.