LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Vegas Golden Knights have hired Gerard Gallant as the first coach of the NHL expansion team.

General manager George McPhee announced the move Thursday.

Gallant helped revive the Florida Panthers, leading them to a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division last season and becoming a coach-of-the-year finalist. He was let go last November after just 22 games as the team stumbled to a slow start.

Gallant was a standout left wing as a player, primarily for the Detroit Red Wings — scoring at least 34 goals in four straight seasons from 1986 through 1990 and finishing his NHL career with 211 goals in 615 games. He later was a head coach in Columbus and an assistant in Montreal, among other stops.

The franchise will get its first 30 players through the expansion draft in June. The Golden Knights begin play next season.

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