June 22, 2024

In part five of our series on possible Ottawa Senators head coaches for next season, we kick the tires on Gerard Gallant.

Any NHL team with an eye on filling a head coaching vacancy needs to look at all relevant candidates with winning experience. The more recent and relevant the winning experience the better.

And Gerard Gallant fits that description.

Any team fitting the Ottawa Senators’ description, bordering the province of Quebec, and looking to potentially put a new arena on Gatineau’s doorstep, might want to take a good look at a fluently bilingual candidate.

Gallant worked briefly as an assistant with the Islanders before going back to the QMJHL, where he coached the Saint John Sea Dogs for three seasons.

In a junior hockey cycle which seldom allows for dynasties, Gallant lost in the finals in his first season, followed by back-to-back league championships in 2011 & 2012. A Memorial Cup was delivered in 2011.

This re-opened the NHL door for Gallant, who returned as an assistant with the Montreal Canadiens and then his second NHL head coaching gig with the Florida Panthers. His dismissal from the Panthers was the most memorable part of his tenure in Florida, being fired by the club on a road trip and being left to find his own way home.

Iin 2018, Gallant became the inaugural head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, winning the Jack Adams Trophy as they made their Cinderella run to the finals. Yet again, he found himself dismissed in the middle of his third season for the third time in three tries.

His fourth stop with the New York Rangers was another that started fast with a loss in the conference finals in year one and ended just as quickly after being ousted by the Devils last season in round one.

Gallant isn’t working in the league as a coach right now. He has this year and next year owed to him by the Rangers at $3.5 million per season. That gives you an idea of what it will cost to fill this vacancy.

There is an obvious short-term pattern with Gallant. His short shelf life is a red flag, and his bilingualism is really the only aspect that sets him apart in a positive way from the other candidates. So it would be critical to find out why Gallant has never received a contract extension as a head coach.

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