Panthers to hire Craig Ramsay as new assistant coach

SUNRISE FL - JANUARY 17: Head coach Craig Ramsay of the Atlanta Thrashers diagrams a play late in the third period against the Florida Panthers on January 17 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise Florida. The Thrashers defeated the Panthers 3-2 in a shoot out. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Craig Ramsay is slated to become the Florida Panthers next assistant coach, filling the spot formerly held by Jim Hulton. Ramsay was a long time player for the Buffalo Sabres and joined the Florida Panthers organization during the expansion year as an assistant coach. Coincidentally, during Ramsay's time in Florida he helped coach Gord Murphy, the man he will be working with under the supervision of head coach Kevin Dineen. An official announcement from the club is expected Thursday.

Ramsay was the head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers last season going 34-36-12 despite an impressive first half of the season. Ramsay has had other short stints as a head coach with the Sabres and Flyers and has served in different capacities with the Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning (where he won a Cup) and Boston Bruins.  Ramsay was released as head coach by the Winnipeg Jets ownership group True North.

The hiring of Craig Ramsay brings in an experienced coach and former player to add legitimacy to the Florida Panthers coaching staff, and although he will be an assistant coach, Ramsay can be a valuable resource for rookie coach Kevin Dineen. As an offensive coach, Ramsay's biggest concern should be improving the Panthers horrid powerplay of last year into at least something at least middle-of-the-pack. That job may have gotten a lot easier with the signings of Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall and Tomas Fleischmann, as well as the trade for Brian Campbell.

Welcome back, Craig.

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