The Florida Panthers hope to hire a coach in time for the 2017 NHL Draft, general manager Dale Tallon told NBC Miami on Wednesday.
"We started with a big number [of coaching candidates] and we're narrowing it down to six or seven guys," Tallon said, "and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we'll get it down to two or three and then get the final one prior to the draft."
The draft will be held June 23-24 in Chicago.
Former Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Nashville Predators assistant Phil Housley, San Jose Sharks assistant Bob Boughner and University of Denver coach Jim Montgomery reportedly are among the candidates being considered by the Panthers.
The Panthers cannot hire Housley until the Predators are finished competing in the Stanley Cup Final. The earliest that would be is June 5.
"We're in no rush," Tallon said. "We don't play till September. We're going to take our time and do the right thing and get the best possible fit for our young players and for our organization."
Tom Rowe, who stepped down as GM to replace Gerard Gallant as coach on Nov. 27, was reassigned by the Panthers to a role as special adviser to Tallon on April 10. The Panthers were 35-36-11, 14 points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the Eastern Conference after winning the Atlantic Division last season.