Just weeks after parting ways with their former general manager after a decade, the Florida Panthers already have their new leader…and he sounds like a winner.
The team announced in a press release Tuesday that they have hired Bill Zito away from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He replaced Dale Tallon, who parted ways with the Panthers last month after his contract expired.
As for 55-year-old Zito, the team said in its announcement, “The Panthers organization are extremely thrilled to welcome Bill and are excited for what he’ll bring to the franchise.”
They went on to say that he will be responsible for managing the club’s hockey operations, including player personnel, the team’s scouting department and its minor league club.
He spent seven seasons with the Blue Jackets, where he served in roles including senior vice president of hockey operations, associate general manager, and alternate governor.
The next General Manager of the Florida Panthers is Bill Zito!
Welcome to #FlaPanthers Territory!
More » https://t.co/6mASEFZ44l pic.twitter.com/8bFxtbXdNv
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) September 2, 2020
Zito says, “I believe in this organization and I am incredibly proud to be a part of it. Our team has great potential and I look forward to start working together in building something special in South Florida. I can’t wait to get to work.”
According to Panthers owner Vincent Viola, “Bill is an excellent mind in our game today who proved during his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets that he possesses great prowess for evaluating talent and building success. He brings great experience to our club and possesses a strong business acumen.”
Hopefully he brought that here with him.
The Panthers went 35-26-8 last season, before everything was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
To top it off, the New York Islanders eliminated the Panthers in the qualification round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Let’s hope Zito can turn things around, and quickly.