Florida Panthers give coach Gerard Gallant 'multi-year' extension

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Florida Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant, top, talks with referee Steve Kozari (40) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Thanks to a strong recent stretch of play the Florida Panthers announced a "multi-year" contract extension for second-year coach Gerard Gallant. 

Terms of the deal, which was made official Saturday, were not disclosed by the team, but the contract is for two-years according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"We are pleased to agree with Gerard on a multi-year extension," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a statement provided by the team. "He has done an excellent job of creating a winning culture and developing our young players in his time with the Panthers. He is an ideal fit for our group and we look forward to having him lead our team as we work towards our goal of winning the Stanley Cup." 

The Panthers have seen quite the uptick with Gallant as head coach since he took over before the 2014-15 season. Last year, they went 38-29-15 to pick up 91 points – a 25 point improvement from the prior year. The Panthers rank second in the Atlantic Division this year with 46 points. Montreal leads the Atlantic with 47 points, but the Habs have played three more games than the Panthers. 

Florida recently had a record-setting December with an 11-3-0 record, including a franchise-best seven straight wins. The Panthers hired Gallant from the Montreal Canadiens where he spent two years as an assistant from 2012-14. He has helped oversee the development of youngsters Aaron Ekblad (the 2014 Calder Trophy winner) and Aleksander Barkov.

"I'm thrilled to be signing an extension with the Panthers," Gallant said in a statement. "I want to thank our owner Vinnie Viola and his partner Doug Cifu for the confidence they have placed in me and their continued support. We've started to build a strong foundation with a great staff and group of players here in Florida. We want to continue to build on the recent success we've had and create a winning team for years to come."

On Friday, the team announced it had signed Tallon to an extension. According to the Miami Herald, that deal was for three years. Both Tallon and Gallant are reportedly under contract to 2019.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!