Free Agents That Fit Rangers Head Coach David Quinn’s Coaching Style
David Quinn is the new man in charge. With that, there may be and should be, a change in mentality and style of play for the New York Rangers.
As Johnluke mentioned in his article on the new coach, accountability and fairness will be enacted into this team. Another new implementation will be the communication. Quinn has a storied history with former players like Kevin Shattenkirk and the kind of personal connection he shares with them.
Especially with the younger players, communication with young guns Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson and even the young defensive core like John Gilmour and Neal Pionk will be crucial.
Neal E. Boudette of the New York Times elaborated in his story on Quinn, that a change in toughness and strategy may be applied.
“As the Terriers’ coach, Quinn employed a style of play based on puck possession and aggressive forechecking.”
With that being said, there are some skaters on the free agent market, that can fit that kind of playstyle. Of course, if that is the direction.
Patrick Maroon fits the hard, tenacious and aggressive forward that Quinn is talking about. Another thing he adds is veteran experience on the left side for 24-year-old Jimmy Vesey and 26-year-old Chris Kreider. Last season, he spent time with Edmonton for 57 games, before being traded to the playoff-seeking New Jersey Devils for 17 games. With Edmonton, Maroon played admirably with contributing 30 points (14G and 16A) and holding a plus/minus of +5. At 54%, he held the highest CorsiFor percentage of skaters with 50 or more games with Edmonton. He was also a force while on the ice, registering 119 hits.
His usage and performances weren’t eye-opening once he moved to New Jersey. In the 17 games, he tallied 13 points with three goals and ten assists. His usage was primarily as an aggressive player, seeking to drop the gloves to turn the tides in a matchup.
Maroon also has experience playing under Quinn’s leadership during the 2016 World Championships. Quinn was an assistant coach for the team. Having that prior experience, though for a short while, is definitely a plus.
Coming off of a one-year deal worth around $1.6 million, acquiring Maroon could be for a reasonable price. My expectation would be a little more, at $1.8 million for one year.
James Van Riemsdyk
The Middletown, New Jersey native grew up as a fan of our beloved New York Rangers. As he is about to nearly hit a decade in the league, coming home may be an option for the soon to be 29-year-old.
Van Riemsdyk provides some quintessential abilities that the Rangers could need in the future. He can score in bunches, with five seasons of 20 goals or more, and netting a career-high of 36 tallies last season. At 6’3″, he is the same height as both Vesey and Kreider, which means that three of the four lines have a long stick to poke and pry the puck away.
In addition to the active stick on defense, JVR is very careful with the puck and maintaining possession. With Toronto last season, he held the highest CorsiFor on the team with 55.6%, beating out 11 other skaters that played more than 70 games. On top of controlling the puck, he can get the puck to the net, with 57.5% of his 248 shots getting to the opposing goaltender.
On the defensive end, I have expressed my predictions for the lines back in early April. But, I believe one more member can be comparable to Quinn’s coaching style. Kevin Shattenkirk had a great quote on his former and now current coach, which was reported by Colin Stephenson of Newsday.
“He lets you make plays, but you have to make the right plays,’’ Shattenkirk said. “He doesn’t want to take away your creativity at all, but there’s a time and place for trying to be too cute and trying to make the right play at the right time in the game. He’s a defenseman at heart, and he harps on team defense; that’s an area that, for me, he did so much for me in college, to focus on my individual skills and from a team standpoint, making sure the team was sound structurally and in good position and working hard to defend.’’
The Rangers have a plethora of highly skilled puck movers and offensive defensemen. But, what about Ian Cole from Columbus to hold the fort on the back end? Revered for his strong defensive plays and willingness to block a shot, Cole can be a great addition to the blueline. In eight seasons on the NHL level, he has blocked 685 shots, including his career high in 2016-17 with 194, plus an additional 62 in the playoffs. This is something the Rangers don’t really have right now, especially after buying out Dan Girardi last summer. Cole is a defensive minded player that is willing to sacrifice his body, whether it is game one or game 82. This is what this rebuilding team needs to consider. Skjei and Staal led the Rangers in blocked shots with 119 and 96 last season, respectively, which is noticeably less than 2016-17 team leaders. During that season, Girardi, McDonagh, and Klein had 166, 160 and 123 respectively.
Quinn has expressed that he wants to focus on the defensive end. He had a concise quote with WFAN and Mike Francesa via sny.tv, on what he wants to develop with the defensive core.
“I played the position myself, I love spending time on the aspects of playing D. We would do an awful lot of that at BU and the AHL. They are all important positions but if your defense can get pucks out of your end and do it quickly, you are going to have the puck a lot more.”