Gerard Gallant has done more for the youth of the New York Rangers in two months than David Quinn did in his three seasons behind the bench. It’s almost hard to believe that Gallant, who was brought in to accelerate the end of the rebuild, has done more for the Rangers youth than the coach who was specifically hired to bring the youth along.
When the club was transitioning from the veteran heavy Alain Vigneault era to the rebuild, the Rangers were looking for a coach who would be perfectly suited to bring along the youth that the club was about to bring in. David Quinn was tasked with the job of trying to steer the organization through the rebuild but did so by playing simple, dump and chase hockey. Now with the creativity open you look at the start that the club is having this year and the appreciation for Gallant only grows.
With a majority of the roster staying the same in terms of key pieces you are starting to see where Quinn fell dramatically short of developing the Rangers young talent. Unfortunately for Quinn, he will get zero credit for the development of Adam Fox. Fox is a superstar caliber player who would’ve shined in spite of who was behind the bench for the Rangers. What we essentially learned was that Quinn was far from the developmental coach most expected. Instead he deployed an archaic style of hockey that was more suited for grinding style college hockey.
Isn’t that ironic.
Before Alexis Lafreniere was the crown piece of the rebuild, it was Kaapo Kakko and he woefully underachieved under David Quinn’s coaching. Since Quinn’s departure, Kakko has opened up about how he’s playing more fearless under Gallant because there’s now a freedom for him to play his game. Gone are the worries that a mistake will land him in the coaches doghouse as was cited in a recent article overseas (you’ll need Google Translate for this one).
One thing that was constantly stated on our 30 On Broadway podcast last season was how Quinn had a notoriously short leash with the likes of Kakko and Lafreniere and he didn’t trust the kids last year until he had no choice to. Gallant has trusted Kakko to play alongside Panarin and Strome and while it didn’t immediately payoff, the coaches patience was rewarded in a Kakko goal scoring streak and helping to also jumpstart Panarin’s offense after a slow start.
It’s not just the Rangers top youth that everyone talks about that has seen a surge in their development but also the likes of Julien Gauthier. A player who was never given a real shot under the previous regime. After a slow start and injury, Filip Chytil has started to show more poise and ability. Even the dramatic consistency of long time vet Chris Kreider is an eye opening development. So far this year Kreider has finally been able to play the consistent level that many Rangers fans have pined for over the years and he’s poised to have an incredible season if he can stay healthy.
While Gallant was hired to make sure that this Rangers club finally turns the corner and end it’s rebuild, his patience with youth and trust in the youth has helped the next cornerstone Ranger pieces to become a huge piece of the puzzle. When the club traded away Pavel Buchnevich in the offseason so many fans wondered who was going to step up into that role and replace the offense that was lost. Thanks to the coach, it’s been done by committee by the youth that many fans hope will play a big role in bringing the Cup back home to Broadway.
One thing is for certain. The Rangers will certainly not lose games this season thanks to the man behind the bench.Embed from Getty Images