Rangers next head coach has work to do despite a talented roster

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Whenever General Manager Chris Drury decides to finalize a decision to hire a head coach, the work at hand will be challenging for whoever stands behind the bench on opening night.

The New York Rangers are no longer just looking to make the playoffs. This hockey club has one goal in mind, to hoist the Stanley Cup next season. It’s a challenge that a veteran or a rookie head coach may be unable to achieve.

Rumors have been running rampant in Rangerstown on who the organization will name as their 37th coach in their history. Peter Laviolette has been the man on top of the list as he supposedly met with the club twice. However, he’s not the only name mentioned.

Related: Hartford Wolf Pack 2022-23 season review

Rangers next coach faces challenges

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Kris Knoblauch, the team’s AHL affiliate head coach, has been considered an option should Drury decide that experience is not as important as team chemistry.

The Rangers and Hartford Wolf Pack run pretty much the same system with Knoblauch being the head coach for the past four seasons. He was hired as the Pack’s head coach in 2019 after two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.

John Hynes, formally the head coach of the Nashville Predators, is a potential consideration for the club. Drury was teammates with Hynes at Boston University for three seasons.

Hynes led the Predators for the last four seasons before his dismissal in favor of Andrew Brunette. He had a record of 134-96-18 in 248 regular-season games as head coach of the Predators from 2020-23. Hynes hit the 40-win and 90-point mark in both of his full 82-game seasons with the Preds. It should also be noted that he has .211 playoff winning percentage (4-15) that will play in any decision.

Laviolette won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. He has also guided the New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Nashville Predators while recording 752 wins.

Now that you have seen a quick synopsis of what Drury and the organization could be considering, here are several questions that need to be answered.

This team has proven it can be a top-tier NHL club in the 82-game regular season, but can any of these coaches take this team from a first-round exit to the New Jersey Devils and carry them to a championship in their first year?

Will the next coach find a way to get Artemi Panarin regular-season success to translate into postseason success?

Can the next coach get this team to play high-octane for a full 60 minutes when it counts?

Is there an opportunity that one of these coaches can get Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko to unlock their full potential?

That’s not all the next coach will have to deal with once he’s hired.

Reading through many different social media outlets over the last few weeks has been exhausting. From the professionals within the NHL to the fanatics, the views vary by a wide margin.

The Rangers need a head coach that is good at developing the younger players and get the most out of veterans. They need someone who can get more from his forward group and improve overall defense to keep Igor Shesterkin sane.

Honestly, that’s what every head coach needs to do regardless of their experience level.

The next head coach of this team has to do what every other head coach is required to do. Take 23 individual players and create a team that at the end of the season is ready to be the first team to 16 postseason wins.

So will an experienced coach or a first-time coach get the job done? The answer could very well determine the fate of Chris Drury as GM of the Blueshirts.

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