Gerard Gallant gives David Quinn praise for New York Rangers kids

NHL head coaches like New York Rangers bench boss Gerard Gallant have a tough job. That’s why they are usually quick to praise members of their fraternity.

That’s exactly what Gallant did today when asked about new San Jose Sharks coach David Quinn, and the impact he had on the current Rangers kids.

“He did a good job with them,” Gallant said on Tuesday. “I got them, they weren’t close to being a finished product but they’re improving every year and that’s what you want. It takes time, but last year they made big strides with our team.”

Gerard Gallant give David Quinn credit

Quinn, 56, was hired by the Rangers for the start of the 2018-19 season to usher in a new era. His excellent reputation as an NCAA head coach with Boston University working with young players was one of the main reasons for the move.

With the Sharks coming up on the schedule this Thursday, Quinn is making his first return back to Madison Square Garden since being fired by the Rangers after the 2020-21 season and replaced by Gallant.

“When [Quinn] was here there were a lot of mistakes made by young players,” Gallant said. “They progressed and that’s what we talk about with any young player.”

Despite a lot criticism regarding how he handled the ice time of high draft picks in Kaapo Kakko (2nd overall, 2019) and Alexis Lafrenière (1st overall, 2020), Quinn is viewed by his peers as having done a great job.

In fairness to Quinn, he did help Adam Fox develop and win a Norris Trophy in just his second NHL season.

“We’ve got four or five of them here,” Gallant noted. “They were 18, 19, and 20 years-old when he was here. I thought all the kids developed under him and they got a lot better.”

David Quinn admitted mistakes with New York Rangers

David Quinn
Nov 7, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers head coach David Quinn looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Rangers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

When the San Jose Sharks introduced Quinn as their new coach, he was asked point blank about criticism regarding the Rangers two high draft picks.

“I’ll be honest, that’s the first I’ve heard of it and I’ve coached a lot of young players,” Quinn said with a stunned look on his face.

New Sharks GM Mike Grier, who spent one season with the Rangers defended Quinn’s tenure on Broadway.

“Some of the stuff that’s out there about the Rangers, I don’t think is fair,” Grier noted. “If he just started giving Kakko and Lafreniere first line shifts without them earning it, the Kreiders and Zibanejads of the world would not have been happy with him. I think he handled the situation with the young players as well as he could’ve.”

Prior to the season starting, Quinn was featured on NHL.com. In a wide ranging interview, he was very open about his time with the Rangers.

“There were things I wish I had done differently,” he said. “I thought I got away from being who I have been for 28 years as a coach… I’ve got moments that I’m proud of and moments that I regret. You wish you had some do-overs, that’s for sure.”

Quinn was fired as coach of the Rangers on May 12, 2021. He posted a 96-87-25 record in his three seasons. His only “playoff” appearance was a sweep in the 2020 Qualifying Round at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

“I think if you want people to be better you have to be demanding but fair,” Quinn explained. “When you have 18, 19 year old players set in their ways, things that they’ve done to get to this point aren’t necessarily what they need to do to continue to have success.”

The Sharks are currently off to an 0-4-0 start and will face the New York Islanders on Tuesday night before taking on the Rangers.

NHL News and Rumors

NHL Rumors: Ryan O’Reilly contract talks on hold. Read more.

NHL Rumors: Agent says Patrick Kane situation similar to Claude Giroux. Read more.

NHL Week in Review! Read more.