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Panthers officially hire Joel Quenneville to be their new head coach

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The Florida Panthers have found their man.

Just a day after firing Bob Boughner, the team has hired three-time Stanley Cup champion Joel Quenneville to be their new head coach.

According to sources, his new deal with the Panthers will pay him over $6 million annually with bonuses.

“Joel is a three-time Stanley Cup champion head coach who will be a transformative leader for the Florida Panthers franchise,” said Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon.

“We’ve seized the opportunity to add one of the most successful head coaches in hockey history and we’re thrilled that Joel has agreed to take on the challenge of leading our promising young team. I’ve worked with Joel previously and have seen firsthand how his passion for the game, head coaching experience and leadership can impact an organization. Joel will accelerate our growth into a club that qualifies for the playoffs consistently and competes every year toward our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”

Quenneville is fresh off a successful tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks. The 60-year old, who was fired as their head coach earlier in the season on November 6, posted a combined 452-249-96 regular season record in 797 games and 10-plus seasons with the franchise.

During his time in Chi-town, the Blackhawks qualified for the postseason nine out of a possible 10 times, and won three Stanley Cups over a six-year span in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

He sits at second in all-time wins as an NHL head coach with 890.

A news conference to announce the hiring will take place at BB&T Center this afternoon.

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Senators ink Thomas Chabot to lucrative eight-year extension

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Eugene Melnyk proving to the world that he willing to actually spend big money to keep a player in the nation’s capital.

The Ottawa Senators announced Thursday that they have signed their best defenceman Thomas Chabot to an eight-year, $64 million contract extension that comes into effect next season.

“Thomas is an exceptional talent and an outstanding teammate, who is impactful both on and off the ice. He is the type of player that can develop into a core member of a championship-level team in the National Hockey League…He is an NHL all-star; an elite skater and puck-mover who plays with pace and determination.” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion.

“We are convinced Thomas will have a significant impact on the Ottawa Senators as we develop and grow into a highly competitive team over the coming seasons and we are extremely proud that Thomas will continue to be a key part of our team’s future success moving forward. Today is a great day for the Ottawa Senators franchise.”

As part of the deal, he will make $7 million in each of the first two seasons, $4 million in 2022/2023, $8 million in 2023/2024, $10 million in each of the following three seasons, and back to $8 million in the final year of the deal in 2027/2028.

The 22-year old, who was selected 15th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, is coming off a career-best season where he posted 14 goals and 41 assists in 70 games.

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Canadiens, Hurricanes among teams interested in Stars defenceman Julius Honka

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Just a couple days after formally requesting a trade, the market is heating up for Dallas Stars defenceman Julius Honka.

According to reports, the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes are among the teams interesting in acquiring the 2014 first round pick in a trade, and currently the most aggressive suitors.

The Canadiens would apparently rather do a player-for-player swap than give up a draft pick for a defenceman who hasn’t lived up to expectations. It’s unclear what the Hurricanes are asking for in negotiations.

The 23-year old Finnish native has compiled two goals, 11 assists and 28 penalty minutes over a span of 87 regular season games and three NHL seasons.

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Jets sign defenceman Josh Morrissey to an eight-year, $50 million extension

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The Winnipeg Jets have locked up one of their top defenceman to a long-term deal.

The team announced Thursday that they have inked Josh Morrissey to an eight-year, $50 million contract extension that will pay him an average annual value of $6.25 million.

The deal will break down as follows: He will make $8 million in years 1, 2 and 4, $5.2 million in year 3, $6.4 million in year 5, and $4.8 million in each of the final three years,

The 24-year old, who still has one season left on his current two-year, $6.3-million bridge deal, posted six goals, 25 assists, a career-best 31 points and a plus-9 rating in 59 games last season.

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