The Florida Panthers finished fourth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference before falling to the New York Islanders in five games in the Eastern Conference Qualifying Round. A big issue with the team was the defense that allowed the 4th most goals in the NHL behind only the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils.
The recent hiring of long-time defenseman Ulf Samuelsson to coaching staff is a step to solving some of the issues. Samuelsson has a slew of experience which includes 1080 NHL games in 16 seasons as a player for the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Philadelphia Flyers.
Since his retirement as a player after the 2000 season, Samuelsson has been a pro scout as well as stints as assistant coach for the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks. Samuelsson expanded his coaching beyond the NHL to Charlotte of the AHL and Modo of the Swedish Hockey League.
Panthers’ general manager Bill Zito is excited for Samuelsson to join an already strong coaching staff under Joel Quenneville. His knowledge and experience as a coach, combined with his competitive nature which stems from many years as a player can only help the Panthers moving forward. It all phases this is a perfect fit since Samuelsson has worked under Quenneville before while with the Blackhawks for nearly a year and a half from June 2017 until November 2018.
A native of Sweden, Samuelsson has winning experience, twice part of Stanley Cup championship teams with the Penguins in the early 1990s and participant in 132 playoff games. A testament of his toughness and grit, Samuelsson leads all Swedish players in NHL history with 2453 penalty minutes.