Dan Bylsma, Marc Crawford finalists for Florida Panthers coaching gig

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Head coach Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins addresses the media after the game against the Ottawa Senators at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The plot thickens for the Florida Panthers and their coaching vacancy, which is expected to be filled this week. 

According to George Richards of the Miami Herald, the three finalists are former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma; former Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks coach Marc Crawford; and Gerard Gallant, an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens who coached star Jonathan Huberdeau in junior.

Detroit Red Wings assistants Tom Renney and Bill Peters are also still in the mix, but Richards cites an organization source saying these three are the top candidates.

He also mentions that  “when interim coach Peter Horachek wasn't retained in April, Tallon said the Panthers wanted a coach who had extensive NHL coaching experience.”

Which is something Bylsma, Crawford and Renney share.

If Bylsma’s made it this far in the process, one assumes he has to be the top choice for the Panthers; then it’d be on him to decide whether he wants to take part in the burgeoning rebuild or wait out the chance to be the fixer for a contender next season.

If it’s not Bylsma … I’d like to see Tom Renney get a crack at a young team with Roberto Luongo between the pipes. But he's not among the "Big 3" apparently. 

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