New Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito has shaken up the team’s front office as the team announced a number of moves Tuesday afternoon.
A good number of the newcomers to the organization aren’t really newcomers to the Panthers — or the area.
Joining the Panthers’ front office include former NHL general managers Rick Dudley and Paul Fenton.
Dudley, of course, was GM of the Panthers from 2002-04 until being forced out when Mike Keenan returned to the team.
Dudley was also briefly Florida’s interim coach when Keenan was initially fired (long story for another day).
Fenton was GM of the Wild during the 2018-19 season after a long run with the Nashville Predators. P.J. Fenton, Paul’s son, is joining the team’s scouting department.
Both Dudley and Paul Fenton will join Roberto Luongo as special advisors to the general manager.
Also coming back to South Florida: Blake Geoffrion, who in 2006 became the first native South Floridian to be taken in the NHL draft.
Geoffrion, grandson of Hall of Famer Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, was born in Plantation but grew up in the Nashville area. He will be an assistant to the general manager.
Former Florida forward Gregory Campbell, who was traded to Boston in Dale Tallon’s first big trade as GM of the Panthers in 2010, is also joining the front office as Florida’s new VP of player personnel and development.
Both Geoffrion and Campbell worked with Zito in Columbus the past few seasons. Paul Fenton was a Columbus scout last year.
Eric Joyce remains the team’s VP of hockey operations and assistant general manager; Bryan McCabe stays as the director of player personnel but will be under Campbell.
The Panthers also announced that assistant coach Mike Kitchen will not return next season.