Disastrous head coach David Quinn was relieved from his duties following a lot of speculation about what the Rangers would do. He owned a record of 96-87-25 over his three seasons with the Rangers, which included one “postseason” experience where they got swept in the first round of the COVID bubble by the Hurricanes.
Now, looking at this record you may be thinking he is not that bad. However, he tends to strategize his lines poorly. Quinn liked to change his line pairs continuously which led to a lack of development in chemistry between some players. Also, young players such as Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafrenière did not receive a lot of playing time so their production was poor.
The Rangers are an up-and-coming team with a good mix of experienced veterans and young guys. Their roster consists of a lot of firepowers which includes top-5 player Artemi Panarin and a Norris Trophy candidate in Adam Fox. New York made a late playoff push towards the end of the season before being mathematically eliminated only a week before the season-ending. David Quinn held back the Rangers from being a full-blown playoff team, so it is important for Rangers’ management to find the right guy for the job. Let’s take a look at some possibilities for the head coach vacancy.
Torts mutually parted ways with the Columbus Blue Jackets after coaching them for six seasons. He recorded a 227-166-54 record with Columbus and led them to the playoffs multiple times. Most memorably, he led the Blue Jackets sweep over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2019 playoffs. Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin was the face of that Blue Jacket team, showing Tortorella knows how to utilize Panarin in a playoff-winning team.
Previous to coaching the Blue Jackets, he actually coached the Rangers for five years. So the guy has plenty of coaching experience in the NHL (20 years) and has developed a ton of young talent, why wouldn’t the Rangers pounce on Torts? Well, Tortorella comes with a lot of controversies as he is known to be very aggressive with his players and the media. Also, people believe he has a problem with scaring away star players. I personally think this would be a very nice signing for the Rangers, but they have to think about the personality concerns with Torts.
After being surprisingly fired by the Panthers then Vegas, Gallant is still searching for a job. He was extremely productive with the Panthers for two straight seasons in the 2014-15 season and 2015-16 season. He coached 21 games the following season before being fired, but that offseason it was announced he would coach the Vegas expansion team. In his first season with the Golden Knights, he led them to a 51-24-7 record while also reaching the Stanley Cup Final. The guy led an expansion team to the Stanley Cup, which should be enough for the Rangers to be interested.
Both the Panthers and the Golden Knights were filled with young talent the seasons Gallant coached them. It is mind-blowing that the 2017 Jack Adams winner is even available because of how good he is. He’s been to the Stanley Cup, led two star-studded and young teams to playoff contention, and has a vast history of winning, so he should be heavily considered by the Rangers. But if the Rangers really want him, they should do it before the Seattle Kraken hire him.
Who? Rikard Gronborg is currently the head coach of the Swiss ZSC Lions. On top of this, he coaches the Swedish National Team. It has been about 20 years since any NHL club has hired a European head coach, but this is going to be broken eventually. If the Rangers want a guy who is well-respected and has a winning mentality, Gronborg can be an option for them. His contract expires with the Lions after this season and he has his sights set on coming to America/Canada as a coach in the NHL. Every time he has coached a team, they have been a winner.
The only risk with hiring Gronborg is that Swiss hockey is a much different game than NHL hockey, which means he would require adjustments. However, this could be good for the Rangers as he could bring foreign ideas to the team which would be different since the same coaches cycle throughout the entire league in recent years. Rikard Gronborg is an option for the Rangers to consider if they want a different type of head coach than the norm.
Of course, there are other popular names out there such as Mike Babcock and Bruce Boudreau, but I decided to discuss my top three most intriguing options for New York’s head coach absence. The Rangers have an extremely bright future, so hopefully, for their fan base and franchise, they can find the right man to lead them to success.
Prediction: John Tortorella gets reunited with Artemi Panarin and the Rangers