The Carolina Hurricanes have fired head coach Paul Maurice and replaced him with former Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Kirk Muller.

Muller, who spent five seasons with the Canadiens as an assistant under Guy Carbonneau, Bob Gainey and Jacques Martin, joined the Nashville Predators this season as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.

The Hurricanes have struggled in the first quarter of the season, sitting last in the Southeast Division with an 8-13-4 record.

Maurice, 44, rejoined the Hurricanes in December of 2008 and was in his 15th season as an NHL head coach. He has a 460-457-167 career record with the Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Maurice joined the Hurricanes franchise while they were the Hartford Whalers in 1995-96 and was – at the time – the youngest coach in league history at the age of 28. After the club moved to North Carolina in 1997, Maurice helped lead the franchise to two Southeast Division titles and its first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2001-02.