Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon received permission Monday morning from his Montreal Canadiens counterpart, Marc Bergevin, to speak with Canadiens assistant coach Gerard Gallant about the Panthers' vacant coaching position, according to several media reports.
Gallant left Montreal for South Florida on Sunday, according to RDS, but the request for permission from Bergevin to negotiate with Gallant came from Tallon on Monday morning.
Tallon fired interim coach Peter Horachek at the end of the regular season after the Panthers went 26-36-4 under his watch. Horachek had replaced Kevin Dineen on Nov. 8, inheriting a team that had started the season 3-9-4.
Tallon mentioned at the time he fired Horachek that he was looking for someone with NHL coaching experience after Horachek, Dineen and Peter DeBoer were first-time NHL coaches when they were hired by the Panthers.
Gallant would meet that wish, having coached the Columbus Blue Jackets for 142 games from the 2003-04 season to 2006-07, compiling a record of 56-76-6 with four ties. Gallant has been an assistant coach with the Canadiens since June 15, 2012, joining the team after a highly successful stint coaching the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
In three seasons with the Sea Dogs, Gallant led Saint-John to the QMJHL final three times, winning the league title twice and winning the Memorial Cup in 2011. The Memorial Cup tournament MVP in 2011 was Jonathan Huberdeau, now a top forward for the Panthers.