Florida Panthers

Panthers continue making changes, fire assistant coach John Madden

John Madden
John Madden Miami Herald file

The Florida Panthers is shaking up its off-ice personnel.

Tom Rowe — who will be officially introduced as the team’s new general manager as early as Monday — has informed a number of long-term employees they have been fired.

The most high-profile firing is that of assistant coach John Madden.

A veteran of 898 NHL games over 13 seasons, including his final one in 2011-12 with the Panthers, Madden joined the Panthers coaching staff with Peter Horachek when Kevin Dineen was fired in 2013 and joined Gerard Gallant full-time in 2014.

Madden is a three-time Stanley Cup champion, winning it twice with the New Jersey Devils and once with the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks.

Doug Cifu, co-owner of the Panthers, said Friday that Florida will replace Madden with two new assistant coaches who will join incumbents Mike Kelly and goalie coach Robb Tallas on Gallant’s staff.

Madden’s main responsibilities with the Panthers the past two years were coaching Florida’s defensemen as well as its penalty kill units.

“We were just looking at making some changes on the coaching staff and we’ve told Gerard he can bring in anyone he wants,’’ Cifu said. “We’re just trying to make our team better.’’

The Panthers also fired Mike Dixon, who spent 11 years rising through the team ranks. Dixon had served as the manager of team travel and services before becoming the director of hockey operations.

The Panthers previously fired longtime equipment managers Chris Scoppetto and Chris Moody. Scoppetto had been with the Panthers for eight years; Moody the past 11.

Team vice president and IceDen director Jeff Campol, who built what is now the Panthers’ training facility in 1996 before selling it to H. Wayne Huizenga in 1997, was fired by Cifu shortly after Florida’s season ended last month.

Cifu said the changes weren’t just ownership clearing out employees they inherited when they bought the team in 2013 or cost cutting moves.

“This has zero to do with money or how the season ended,’’ Cifu said. “We’ve been here three years now and I think we kind of know what’s what.

“We just wanted to make some changes; we’ve giving everyone a shot and a long, hard look. We would have made these changes even had we won the Stanley Cup.’’

The team is expected to announce a new front office structure next week.

On Monday, the Panthers are expected to officially announce general manager Dale Tallon is becoming president of hockey operations with Rowe replacing him as GM.

Eric Joyce and Steve Werier have been promoted to assistant general managers.

Tallon should continue his role in scouting amateur and professional players in his new role while Rowe, Werier and Joyce handle more of the day-to-day hockey operations.