Gerard Gallant was hired yesterday to be the next New York Rangers head coach. This was Chris Drury’s first big test as Rangers General Manager and President. David Quinn was set to return for at least one more season until James Dolan fired John Davidson and Jeff Gorton. Finding a new head coach was at the top of the list of things on the Rangers offseason to do list. Once Quinn was relieved of his duties, Gallant immediately became the guy. He is the guy to lead the net great Rangers team. The window for the Rangers to be Stanley Cup contenders is officially open and Gallant is the guy to lead them there.
Gerard Gallant has had a very long career in professional hockey. Gallant broke into the NHL coaching ranks in 2001 when he served as an assistant with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Part way through the 2003-2004 season, Gallant took over head coaching duties. Gallant served as head coach for the remainder of that season through part way through the 2006-2007 season. After that, he did not serve as a head coach in the NHL again until he was named the Florida Panthers head coach in 2014. He propelled an up and coming Panthers team to their second division title in franchise history during the 2015-2016 season. However, he was fired at the start of the 2016-2017 after starting the season 11-10-1.
On April 13, 2017, Gerard Gallant was named the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history. He led them to one of the most successful first seasons for any expansion team. It took the Golden Knights only until February to secure the record for most wins (34) in an inaugural season for an expansion team. He collected his second Coach of the Year Award after leading the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Finals. Ultimately, the Knights lost to the Washington Capitals in five games. However, Gallant will always be remembered for bringing an expansion team to the Finals in their first season in existence.
Potential Seattle Career
After Gallant was fired from Vegas and the Seattle Kraken were announced, Gallant immediately became the top candidate for the job. After his success with Vegas, it was inevitable that Ron Francis would try to lure Gallant to Seattle. However, any attempt done by Seattle gas now proven to be futile.
Gerard Gallant: Next New York Rangers Head Coach
Gerard Gallant and the Rangers agreed to a 4-year contract with the Rangers for $3.5 million per season. The Rangers were in need of a coach with a proven track record in the NHL. That is exactly what Gallant brings to the organization. He has a career 270-216-55 record as a head coach in the NHL. Despite being a no-nonsense coach, he is an excellent communicator that can relate well to younger players. Most notably, he played a very important role in the development of Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov, and Jonathan Huberdeau.
This leads me to believe that Gallant will be an excellent coach for players like Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and even some more veteran guys like Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich has had a negative history with coaches in the past (*cough* Alain Vigneault *cough*). Gallant seems like the guy who can provide tough love when needed but earn and maintain the respect of prospects, young guns, and veterans alike.
The only other person who I would have been okay with would have been Rod Brind’Amour. Brind’Amour’s contract with the Hurricanes is set to expire at the end of the month and he may hit the open market as a coach. Therefore, he is now the Kraken’s top priority to be the first head coach in the franchise’s history. Despite Brind’Amour’s potential departure, Chris Drury decided to offer the coaching job to Gallant before learning of Brind’Amour’s fate in Carolina. Chris Drury certainly passed his first major test as GM. There were definitely wrong choices Drury could have made. He decided to pass on guys like John Tortorella and Rick Tocchet. Those two would have been the wrong choice. Gerard Gallant has a lot of success as an NHL head coach and is hopefully the guy to coach the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup since 1994.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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