Assistant coach candidates for Peter Laviolette’s Rangers

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Autumn Allison

The New York Rangers have hired Peter Laviolette as the 37th head coach in franchise history.

While expectations appear to be Stanley Cup or bust for the new bench boss, his first order of business will be to hire assistant coaches. Over the next week or more, Laviolette and GM Chris Drury will review and interview candidates to round out the staff.

Peter Laviolette new Rangers coach

Before we dive into the candidates, let’s review the man in charge.

Laviolette, 58, has amassed a coaching record of 752-503-25-150 over 21 seasons. He was the obvious successor to Gallant thanks to having a Stanley Cup win under his belt with the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes. Drury also played for Laviolette at the 2006 Olympics with Team USA.

The Rangers are a win-now team and Laviolette boasts a lifetime mark of 78-76 in the playoffs. He’s also been to three Stanley Cup Finals (2006, 2010, 2017).

This is also a bit of a homecoming for Laviolette, who only played 12 games in the NHL on defense, all for the New York Rangers. The Norwood, Massachusetts native was undrafted and did not register a point.

Laviolette is considered an excellent motivator and has a great feel for in-game adjustments. Apparently something Gallant in his two seasons on Broadway struggled with. However, when it comes to the X’s and O’s of what’s happening on the ice, that falls on the assistants.

That’s why these assistant coaching hires will be instrumental in developing and executing a strategy going forward. Hiring the right ones is now key.

Potential assistant coaching candidates

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When it comes to hiring an assistant coach, the new bench boss usually gets carte blanche on one. That’s usually their righthand man and Laviolette has one for sure.

Much like Mike Kelly worked with Gallant wherever he coached, you can expect Kevin McCarthy to be there for Laviolette.

“Kevin has had a tremendous impact on my coaching career,” Laviolette said. “Kevin is a high character individual who has an incredible amount of NHL experience and works relentlessly to make players better.”

McCarthy, 65, has worked with him in all his stops except for the New York Islanders where Laviolette started his career. He won the Stanley Cup in 2006 alongside Peter and has been there every step of the way.

Another former defenseman, McCarthy had a 10-year career in the NHL playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

“There’s more to Lavi’s system than just offense,” McCarthy said when joining the Caps’ staff. “Defense wins championships.”

Knowing that McCarthy will most likely be riding alongside Laviolette next season, here some other potential candidates.

John Hynes

The apparent runner-up to Laviolette for Rangers coach, it would not surprise me if Drury adds him to the staff. The 48 year-old coach has an excellent mind for strategy and could be a back-up plan if things get off the tracks. His overall record is 284-254-63 over 8 seasons as a head coach.

Blaine Forsythe

Forsythe, 47, ran the offensive side of things for Laviolette with the Washington Capitals. He spent a longtime with the Caps organization before being let go this offseason as well. While I feel he’s a long-shot because Drury will likely want someone fresh, he’s worth a mention here.

Marc Savard

Larry Brooks of the NY Post put forth former Rangers forward Marc Savard in a recent Slap Shots column. I have to admit, I love the idea. Aside from Savard knowing the pressures of playing in New York, he’s familiar with Will Cuylle who he coached with the Windsor Spitfires in 2021-22. The 45 year-old is 88-35-13 in two OHL seasons.

“I don’t want to really fall into that assistant coaching category, unless it makes total sense to me and there’s going to be (a future head coaching) opportunity,” Savard said via the Windsor Star. “I’m not really into the AHL level. I’d rather come back here. This is a great organization and I love working here.”

One name that won’t be considered for Laviolette’s staff is Kris Knoblauch. The current Hartford Wolf Pack head coach will continue in his role next season for the Rangers’ AHL affiliate.

At the end of the day, I’m sure there will be many other names to arise. Jessica Campbell became the first-ever women to be an assistant in the AHL with the Coachella Valley Firebirds and may get some consideration. As will former NHL players like Joel Ward and Marco Sturm.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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