Florida Panthers: The Road Ahead Under Joel Quenneville (Featuring Blackhawk Up)

SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 8: Joel Quenneville is named Florida Panthers Head Coach. Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the team has named Joel Quenneville as head coach of the Panthers. At the BB&T Center on April 8 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 8: Joel Quenneville is named Florida Panthers Head Coach. Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the team has named Joel Quenneville as head coach of the Panthers. At the BB&T Center on April 8 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Two months ago, the Florida Panthers hired former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville to a five-year, $30 million contract, yet we haven’t really gone in-depth on how much this means.

Joel Quenneville was hired as Blackhawks head coach by current Panthers general manager Dale Tallon back in 2008. Prior to his work in Chicago, Quenneville was a well-respected coach but was still not hailed as one of the greats.

Quenneville’s coaching began in 1996 with the St. Louis Blues, reaching the playoffs in his first season at the helm, but losing to the perpetual Stanley Cup Champions – Steve Yzerman’s Detroit Red Wings – in six games in the first round.

This did set a precedent for JQ’s time in St. Louis, as the Blues reached the playoffs in each of his seven full seasons as coach.

The farthest he ever reached was the 2000-2001 Western Conference Finals, where they had no answer for Joe Sakic, who had 8 points (4G & 4A) in 5 games as the Colorado Avalanche triumphed over St. Louis.

After two and a half more seasons, Quenneville won just one more series and was axed in the middle of the 2003-04 season.

After taking one season off coaching, Quenneville was hired by the Avalanche in 2005. His time in Colorado was less successful, with 95 points in all three seasons, missing the playoffs entirely for the first time in 2006-07, and winning just two playoff series. He was fired from Colorado after being swept in the second round by the Red Wings in 2008.

Later that year, he was snatched up by Tallon to coach the young Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks had been one of the more non-intimidating teams in the NHL in their last 10 seasons prior to 2008, making the playoffs just once, losing to Quenneville’s Blues in five games back in 2001.

They had a lot of promising young pieces, some young defensive gems in Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Dustin Byfuglien, and two promising 19-year-olds in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

After just two seasons, Quenneville took the Blackhawks to the Conference Finals, and then all the way to Stanley Cup Champions in 2010 over the Philadelphia Flyers.

The rest is history. Quenneville would go on to win three Stanley Cups in six seasons for Chicago from 2009 to 2015. He would reach the playoffs in nine of his ten full seasons at the helm with the Hawks with a 76-52 playoff record.

During his time in Chicago, he also surpassed great Islanders head coach Al Arbour, the coach during the NYI dynasty from 1980-1983, as the second-winningest NHL coach of all time.

Now, Quenneville, the second-winningest coach of all time with 890 wins and three Stanley Cup Titles to his name, is the coach of the Florida Panthers, another franchise who hasn’t been very threatening to the rest of the league over the last decade.

With Tallon, the two have a very similar job as what they did in Chicago, but repeating what they have done makes matters even harder.

For more on what Quenneville did for Chicago, and for more on what he might do for Florida, we phoned our friends at Blackhawk Up, the FanSided page of the Chicago Blackhawks. Here’s a little Q&A with site expert Tony Gianares on JQ’s impact as a head coach:

Q: Firstly, what is the expectation Panthers fans should have about Joel Quenneville?

A: Coach Q is a no-nonsense coach. He’s there to do a job, which is to bring a Stanley Cup to Florida. Expect your team to instantly take one step closer to becoming a true contender.

Q: What is the culture and attitude of a club that is coached by Joel Quenneville?

A: The Florida Panthers are getting a surefire Hall of Fame coach whose resume speaks for itself. He knows how to get the players to buy-in and how to get the most out of every player. Q is a winner and instantly legitimizes your organization.

Q: Joel Quenneville was the head coach of one of the most successful Blackhawks teams in history, and that’s no overstatement. Three Championships in six years is no regular feat, however, the roster was one of the best we’ve seen in the last decade. Prime Kane, prime Toews, Keith, Crawford, how much of the credit really goes to Quenneville?

A: Sure, a coach can’t win without talented players, but Q had a big role in the development of the Blackhawks’ championship core, including Toews, Kane, Keith, Crawford, and so many others. He knew how to help these players elevate their game and become the players that we all know and love here in Chicago.

Q: The Blackhawks had a lot of young faces that performed valuable depth jobs over their cup runs. Guys like Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad, Nick Leddy, Teuvo Teravainen, and Trevor van Riemsdyk. The Panthers are a team that has a lot of solid young talent in the minors at the moment, how good of a head coach is Quenneville when it comes to putting trust into players under 23-years-old during the big moments?

A: In my opinion, that has been the one knock on Coach Q. He tends to favor veterans unless a young player truly proves himself. I believe that was part of the reason he was replaced as head coach of the Blackhawks.

Q: To relate to that, JQ’s last 2 seasons (and the 16 games last season) of coaching, the Hawks diminished from that Stanley Cup win over Tampa Bay. Two first-round exits and a 6-6-3 start to last season saw Quenneville dismissed as head coach. What went wrong at that time? What did Quenneville do, or not do, that brought him to being fired?

A: The Blackhawks got to a point where some of the veterans began to decline and the team couldn’t hold its own anymore. Last offseason, the Blackhawks signed veterans such as Chris Kunitz, Cam Ward, Brandon Manning, Brandon Davidson, and etc. After a while, his player preference and philosophy seemed to rub upper management the wrong way.

Q: So Quenneville wound up taking less money than Philadelphia offered to become head coach of the Panthers. He said he was happy to work together with Dale Tallon off the ice and Aleksander Barkov on the ice. How is an inexperienced team like the Panthers going to adapt to a Joel Quennenville-run hockey club?

A: Quenneville has experience with young, inexperienced teams. He became head coach of the Blackhawks during the 2008-09 season. That team started 1-2-1 under Denis Savard and finished with a 46-24-12 record. At that time, Toews, Kane, Hjalmarsson, and Versteeg were their 2nd NHL season. Keith, Seabrook, Ladd, and Byfuglien were in their 4th season. Sharp was in his 6th season. Niemi was a rookie, and so on. There are many similarities with the Florida Panthers team he is taking over and the 2008-09 Blackhawks. I believe all of this ultimately swayed him to go with the Panthers over the Flyers.

Remembering Roberto Luongo’s Time in Florida. light. Must Read

Q: We talked about Barkov, and he really reminds me of a Jonathan Toews kind of player. Good leader, great defensively, very capable of putting up points, and an ideal special teams player. Do you think Quenneville can help Barkov make even bigger strides than he made last season?

A: Barkov is an extremely talented two-way forward who doesn’t get enough credit. There are parts of his game that remind me of Toews. Plus, Barkov is that silent leader the same way that Toews is. They let their actions speak for them, on and off the ice. I believe Barkov will be Q’s new Toews and he should be able to elevate Barkov’s game as he did with Toews. Toews went from 54 points in 2007-08 to 69 points in 2008-09, after Q took over. I’d expect the same thing to happen with Barkov.

Q: This offseason, the Panthers are focusing on signing Artemi Panarin from Columbus. Panarin played two seasons with Quenneville before being traded to Columbus, scoring 151 points in 162 games. How big is a guy like Quenneville for Panarin to lure him to Florida?

A: The day Panarin and Hjalmarsson were traded was basically the beginning of the end for the Blackhawks and Coach Q. Q is a big Panarin fan and the feeling is mutual on Panarin’s end, so it makes sense for the Panthers to actively pursue Panarin. Of course, a nice chunk of change doesn’t hurt either. In the end, familiarity is key. In my opinion, Q liked the Panthers’ roster since it shares many similarities to the 2008-09 Blackhawks team and Panarin is someone he’s had success with in the past. The two joining forces in Florida makes sense on many levels.

Next. Silver Linings if Panarin Doesn’t Sign in Sunrise. dark

Massive thank you to Blackhawk Up for taking the time to answer our questions on our new head coach, Joel Quenneville. Be sure to check out their coverage!