Kevin Dineen, 47, played 1,188 games in the NHL with Philadelphia, Hartford, Carolina, Ottawa and Columbus. He's coached for six seasons with the Portland Pirates of the AHL, having compiled five straight winning seasons. So he's put in his time.
He replaces Peter DeBoer, who was fired after three seasons and a 103-107-36 record. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Chicago Blackhawks assistant Mike Haviland and Thrashers associate coach John Torchetti and Manitoba Moose coach Claude Noel were also on the radar.
For more on Dineen's coaching acumen, check out the Columbus Dispatch on his "inspiration and intelligence" as an AHL coach. One refreshing phrased used here about Dineen's teams, at least for Panthers fans: "They go after the puck, they play with speed and they don't back down or get outworked."