Legendary Rangers goalie coach to take reduced role: report

Benoit Allaire
Credit: Jim Cerny

Moving forward after their 2023-24 season came to an end Saturday night in South Florida, the New York Rangers have, perhaps, the best goalie in the NHL, with Igor Shesterkin. However, their goaltending department is expected to take a hit because longtime “goalie whisperer” Benoit Allaire is expected to take on a lesser role with the Blueshirts, according to several reports.

NHL analyst Kevin Weekes, a former Rangers goalie himself, reported the possibility that Allaire will be taking a step back from his day-to-day duties as goalie coach just two hours after the Rangers season came to a bitter end with a 2-1 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers.

The New York Post’s Mollie Walker confirmed the initial report on Sunday.

Walker reports that Allaire, who just finished his 20th season with the organization, will remain with the Rangers as a director of goaltending, but “has opted to no longer serve as the club’s goalie coach on a day-to-day basis.”

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Benoit Allaire stepping down as Rangers goalie coach

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Allaire has earned a reputation as one of the finest goalie gurus in the NHL, working closely with Henrik Lundqvist for all 15 years of his Hall of Fame career and now with Shesterkin, who won the 2022 Vezina Trophy with a 2.07 goals-against average and .935 save percentage that ranks ninth all-time for NHL goalies in a single season.

Lundqvist praised Allaire as the best goalie coach in the NHL throughout his career and gave special thanks to him in his Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech.

Allaire is a potential Hall of Famer in his own right, having developed two of the best NHL goalies in the last two decades.

Per Walker, the decision to scale back his role was made by Allaire, who will assist the team in finding someone to take over daily duties next season.

It’s salt on the wound after a painful Eastern Conference Final exit that put a disappointing end to a magical Presidents’ Trophy season for the Blueshirts. Allaire’s prized pupil, Shesterkin, was New York’s best player in the series against the Panthers, finishing with a .935 save percentage.

But it wasn’t enough to get the Rangers nor Allaire to the Stanley Cup Final for only the second time since the goalie guru joined the organization in 2002.

And that, is a shame, for a coach who’s served the Rangers well for two decades.

Lou Orlando has spent the past two seasons as a New York Rangers beat reporter for WFUV Sports. The... More about Lou Orlando

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