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Former Florida Panthers Captain Derek MacKenzie Headed to Nashville

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Andrew Brunette, right, coaches his first game as the Florida Panthers’ interim head coach alongside Derek MacKenzie on Oct. 29, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

After a couple of years together with the Florida Panthers, Derek MacKenzie and Andrew Brunette have been reunited in Nashville.

Brunette is the new coach of the Predators and hired the former Florida Panthers captain to be one of his new assistant coaches.

The two worked closely together with the Panthers as both were assistants under Joel Quenneville starting in 2019 with MacKenzie serving under Brunette was he was promoted to Florida’s interim coach in 2021.

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MacKenzie left the Panthers last summer and become head coach of his hometown Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League; Brunette was passed over for Paul Maurice not long afterward.

“Derek MacKenzie’s track record as a player and coach in the NHL makes him a valuable addition to our organization,” Brunette said in a statement.

“Having worked closely with him on an NHL bench before, I’ve been fortunate enough to see his leadership qualities firsthand and know he will develop strong connections and relationships with our players and staff. I’m excited to reunite with him here in Nashville and see him become a big asset for our team.”

MacKenzie, 42, played in parts of 16 NHL seasons and was with the Panthers from 2014-19 — serving as the team captain from 2016 until he turned it over to Sasha Barkov before the start of the 2018-19 season.

A shoulder injury sustained on opening night in Tampa marked the end of MacKenzie’s playing career.

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