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MacKenzie, former Panthers captain, named assistant coach with team

Played five seasons with Florida from 2014-18; Kitchen, Brunette also join Quenneville's staff

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Derek MacKenzie, who was captain of the Florida Panthers for two seasons, was named an assistant coach with the team Tuesday.

MacKenzie, 37, was assisting the Panthers coaching staff in an unofficial position this season after playing one game and having season-ending shoulder injury Nov. 6. The forward played five seasons for the Panthers (2014-19) and was captain from 2016-18. He had 54 points (20 goals, 34 assists) in 304 games with Florida and 125 points (51 goals, 74 assists) in 611 NHL games with the Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Atlanta Thrashers.

"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," said Panthers coach Joel Quenneville, who was hired April 8.

MacKenzie will join Mike Kitchen and Andrew Brunette, who were also announced to the staff. Robb Tallas will return for an 11th season as goaltending coach.

"We have assembled a talented coaching staff with unique perspectives and a wealth of hockey experience," Quenneville said. "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. ... Together with longtime goaltending coach Robb Tallas, we are motivated by the task ahead of us. Our staff is eager to begin working towards our goal of bringing playoff hockey back to South Florida."

Kitchen, 63, has more than 25 years of NHL coaching experience as an assistant coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs (1989-98), St. Louis Blues (1998-2004), Panthers (2007-10) and Chicago Blackhawks (2010-17). He was coach of the Blues from 2003-07. Kitchen and Quenneville won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015.

Brunette, 45, has spent the previous seven seasons with the Minnesota Wild as director of player personnel, assistant general manager, assistant coach and special assistant to the GM.

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