Should the Rangers fire Alain Vigneault?
This is probably the hottest topic coming off a disastrous and lackluster first round exit this spring. It was further fueled by an article from Larry Brooks in yesterday’s NY POST.
[su_quote cite=”NY POST” url=”https://nypost.com/2016/04/24/a-rangers-overhaul-will-require-a-changed-alain-vigneault/”]Sources have told The Post there is belief from the top down — starting with CEO Jim Dolan — the club is in need of an overhaul in the form of a transfusion of new and younger blood pumped into the system. Still, though, even as the clock ticked on the core, more was expected of it…Even as there is no plan to dismiss the coach — who either a) deserves a fair measure of blame for the team’s chaotic work in its own end punctuated by chronic abandonment of the front of the net; b) merits a fair amount of credit for somehow coaxing a 101-point season out of a worn-down group; or c) some of both of the above — it is clear Vigneault will have to change his approach next season.[/su_quote]
The question is, if the Rangers do infuse the lineup with more youth, will they reconsider whether or not Alain Vigneault is the right man going forward? That really will depend on the extent of this infusion.
If all the Rangers add are forward, Pavel Buchnevich and make both defensemen Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath every day players, my answer is no. Aside from Buchnevich, most of the younger Rangers are familiar with AV and his system and he is familiar with them. Now if the Rangers start shipping out veterans like Rick Nash, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and dare I say it – Henrik Lundqvist, then my answer changes.
There are a host of RFA’s out there on the market, signing any to an offer sheet is unlikely but don’t rule out trading from some if team’s are having a difficult time. Another possibility is looking at the UFA market for bigger and grittier players like, dare I say it? Milan Lucic.
Let’s face it, the Rangers are too easy to play against. A player like Lucic will not only hit, but he will consistently drive the net and cause havoc in front. Plus he will do it in the post-season when it matter most. However, that won’t happen as long as Rick Nash and his contract are on the books.
The Rangers, outside of Tanner Glass are a fairly one dimensional team. They are all skill and no drill. That was fine in 2014 when they all could fly like the wind and buzzed like a swarm of bees on the puck. Two years later, with a few more miles on the bodies of Girardi, Staal, Boyle, Klein, Moore, and E. Staal it didn’t work out so well.
Trading Henrik Lundqvist as it’s being mulled over by some also makes no sense. He still has several good years in him and I don’t see a goaltender on the market to replace him. The Rangers need to continue to groom their three young goalies and see who will take the King’s throne eventually. Will it be MacKenzie Skapski, Igor Shestyorkin or Brandon Halverson? The one whom matures fastest gets it and the inside track goes to Skapski who has some NHL experience.
Another huge issue is what will happen with Keith Yandle? Common sense says that after trading away Anthony Duclair, keeping Yandle is a must. However, if he decides to go the UFA route he will likely price himself off the team.
There is no doubt that GM, Jeff Gorton has his work cut out for him. Maybe the route he takes will be predicated on his biggest decision – keep or fire Alain Vigneault. What would you do?