Allow me to be Kevin Costner here for two seconds, it’s Gerard Gallant and no one else… The Only way Gallant shouldn’t be the Rangers next head coach is if Tom Dundon does something absolutely absurd and lets Rod Brind’Amour shake loose. However, I find Brind’Amour shaking free highly unlikely and that the Rangers need to focus on tabbing Gallant as the next head coach.
It’s perfectly clear that Gallant is the absolute best fit for the new direction that the Rangers want to go after ousting John Davidson, Jeff Gorton, and David Quinn at seasons end. Dolan clearly feels that this team is ready to move beyond the rebuild stage and wants to accelerate things and also feels this team is missing some toughness. Bringing in Gallant would bring both of those things and check off two things on Jim Dolan’s list.
Outside of his woefully unsuccessful run with Columbus as his first NHL head coaching opportunity, Gallant has seen success in his last two NHL stops. His most notable success came with the Vegas Golden Knights leading the expansion team to within three wins of winning the Cup in their inaugural season. Who could also forget his run with the Florida Panthers where in his first season they just missed the playoffs with 91 points and then in his second season they finished with 103 points and first place in the Atlantic division.
A lot of Rangers fans might be scared that Gallant’s NHL coaching track record is ultimately pretty short where he’s been fired in season at every one of his stops. However, in Florida and Vegas those are both situations that fans should take a major grain of salt. Gallant’s departure in Florida was due to the new regime in Tom Rowe being based totally in analytics and trying to totally overhaul the organization and not wanting to build a team to how his coach wants his team to play.
In Vegas we all know about the immediate success followed by a first round postseason exit in one of the most dubious postseason calls in game 7 against San Jose. His firing in Vegas shocked so many because it seemingly came out of nowhere. While Vegas had struggled out of the gate the team was starting to fight back to be able to claw themselves back into playoff positioning before being fired. It wound up coming out after his firing that the move was made because Bill Foley felt the group had become “complacent” and that Gallant is a “players coach”. Being a players coach shouldn’t be seen as an indictment but as an asset because his players want to play for him.
Also Gallant has had the ability to develop some key players throughout his tenure in Vegas and Florida. Most notably Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and William Karlsson. If you want to see the Rangers take the next step while still being able to develop the young talent that’s on the roster than the only clear choice is Gerard Gallant. Under his tutelage you can see Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, and Filip Chytil all take the next step while the team can become a real threat in the Eastern Conference. Once again, it’s Gerard Gallant and no one else.
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