Former Rangers coach returns to Metropolitan Division

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

David Quinn is back in the Metropolitan Division.

The former New York Rangers coach has been hired as an assistant by the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he will work under coach Mike Sullivan. The Penguins confirmed the hiring on Wednesday.

Quinn coached the Rangers for three seasons from 2018-21, handling the difficult job of a team in transition during a rebuild. In 2019-20, when the COVID-19 pandemic shortened the season and created a play-in tournament for the postseason, Quinn’s Rangers lost in three straight games to the Carolina Hurricanes.

New York did not make the playoffs in Quinn’s other two seasons. He finished 96-87-25 as Rangers coach. Following his departure at the end of the 2020-21 season, the Blueshirts won 52 games in the regular season under Gerard Gallant and reached the Eastern Conference Final, where they lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

So, his fingerprints are on the current Rangers roster. Adam Fox, Igor Shesterkin, Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and Ryan Lindgren are just some of the players he coached earlier in their respective careers in New York.

Fox won the Norris Trophy in 2021-21 with Quinn as his coach.

“David Quinn brings a wealth of coaching and developmental experience across the highest levels of professional and international hockey,” Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas said. “Quinn has a long track record of helping elite defensemen reach their full potential, and we look forward to the impact he can make on our defensive group and our entire program. Coach Quinn’s experience, character, energy and enthusiasm make him a great fit for Coach Sullivan’s coaching staff.”

Related: Former Rangers defenseman scores shocking goal in Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

David Quinn back in Rangers division, joins Penguins coaching staff

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Toronto Maple Leafs
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn coached the San Jose Sharks the past two seasons but was fired after finishing last in the NHL this season with a 19-54-9 record. The San Jose situation was even more of a dire rebuild than the one in New York, a near impossible situation for Quinn to have much success.

By leaving the Sharks, Quinn misses out on the chance to coach Macklin Celebrini, whom they are expected to select with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. Like Quinn, Celebrini attended Boston University.

ESPN broadcaster Sean McDonagh reported that Celebrini was “disappointed” not to play for Quinn in the NHL.

The move to Pittsburgh reunites Quinn with Erik Karlsson, who won the Norris Trophy playing under Quinn in 2022-23 with the Sharks. Karlsson was traded to the Penguins last offseason.

Being back with a division rival certainly would another layer to Rangers-Penguins games in 2024-25.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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