MacKenzie, Kitchen, Brunette join Panthers coaching staff

Former Florida Panthers centre Derek MacKenzie has joined the team as an assistant coach. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

Two-time Stanley Cup champion Mike Kitchen, NHL veteran Andrew Brunette and former Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie have been named assistant coaches of the Florida Panthers, the team announced Tuesday.

The new assistant coaches will join Robb Tallas, the Panthers goaltending coach, on head coach Joel Quenneville’s staff.

“We have assembled a talented coaching staff with unique perspectives and a wealth of hockey experience,” Quennville said in a press release. “Our staff is eager to begin working towards our goal of bringing playoff hockey back to South Florida.”

MacKenzie, 37, retired from the NHL last season after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in November. As he recovered, MacKenzie assisted the Panthers coaching staff in an unofficial assistant coaching role. During his four seasons with the Panthers, MacKenzie recorded 51 goals and 125 points.

Kitchen, 63, has over 25 years of NHL coaching experience, and returns to the Panthers where he was an assistant coach from 2007-2010. He has previously served as an assistant coach under Quennville with both the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. Kitchen was also head coach of the Blues from 2004 to 2007 and served as assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1989-1998.

Brunette, 45, spent the previous seven seasons working with the Minnesota Wild in different capacities, including assistant coach and assistant general manager. The long-time NHL forward appeared in 1,109 NHL games for the Wild, Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers, Colorado Avalanche and Blackhawks.

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