It was a no brainer of a decision but we’ve seen more times than we’d like to remember how these no brainers can be fouled up. Gerard Gallant was the perfect hire to help bring this team from the rebuilding stages into opening up the club’s Cup contention window. Before this last season there wasn’t exactly an expectation of postseason play but more of a hope from Rangers faithful. This year will be no such animal because ownership has made it known that the rebuild should be coming to a close and the hiring Gallant signals just as much as well.
Gallant will bring accountability throughout the entire lineup no matter if you’re a star or a fourth line grinder and will also bring a tougher mindset and grittier approach than his predecessor. He has a great ability to not only coach veterans but also develop young talent simultaneously and still be able to win games as shown by his stop in Florida.
With the hiring of the Prince Edward Island native it’ll signal a bit of a shift in thinking by the Rangers because they will be going with someone who has more of an “old school” mentality. We have seen the Rangers have a highly skilled group that can have a problem handling games against teams that can play the more gritty and grinding style, specifically the New York Islanders. Case in point the Rangers just being body bagged by the Islanders late in the season and killing their postseason aspirations is one of the most pivotal reasons for the sweeping changes of the old regime. David Quinn had always spoke about wanting to make the Rangers harder to play against but that never materialized under his watch. It actually became the opposite that this team became pretty easy and one dimensional to play against and while some of it could be contributed to roster construction, a vast majority could be attributed to Quinn being very one dimensional as a coach. These areas of concern were mentioned a few times throughout the season notably in February and again in March.
Under Gallant this club will become much tougher to play against. Not only because the coach will look to bring in some more grit to mix into the club’s wealth of skill but also because if you’re not going to give your best effort under Gallant you won’t get the ice time.
While bringing the best head coach on the market is a great start for rookie GM Chris Drury, the real work will now begin for the new boss. After overhauling the club’s scouting department this first draft will be crucial for Drury and company. Of course there’s also the expansion draft questions that need to be answered as well but Jeff Gorton did a great job in securing enough expansion fodder that no critical assets for the Rangers will be lost much like when Vegas came into the lead. It can’t be overstated how crucial and beneficial it was for the Blueshirts to not have to make a boneheaded trade to save their 13th forward or 7th d-man from being selected by Vegas. Thankfully to the work put in by Gorton and Drury that’ll also be the case in the draft for Seattle as well. Drury also will be tasked with making sure that the club does become tougher to play against by adding some better viable bottom six options than Phil DiGiuseppe and Brett Howden.
The first domino for Drury has fallen, and it was absolutely huge, now with the coach and GM both in the fold and ready this offseason will be absolutely monumental in reshaping this club into a Cup contender. It won’t be easy but now with having the coach in the fold who you would presume share the same philosophy as the GM we will hopefully see the beginning of a nice postseason streak on Broadway.
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