Rangers Should Prepare To Lose Assistant Coaches
Ulf Samuelsson is a wanted man! Scott Arniel is a wanted man! If both leave for head coaching jobs or promises of brighter a future, who would replace them?
In a whirlwind 24-48 hours, teams have approached the Rangers for permission to interview Alain Vigneault’s assistant coaches. Ulf is coveted by Pittsburgh and Carolina, while Arniel is wanted in Vancouver. With the amount of coaching vacancies, other opportunities will present themselves.
The penalty of a successful season and playoff run is exactly this. Players want raises and assistant coaches get offers. Is there any wonder why it is nearly impossible to win back-to-back Cups these days? Still, the likelihood of losing both coaches are slim but you never know.
Ulf Samuelsson is the most likely to be hired. He and Ron Francis have a long and outstanding relationship. Now that the graceful star is at the helm in Carolina, he will want some level of comfort with his new bench boss and Ulf is a fit.
So who should the Rangers look to? Let’s start with bringing in a little of the 1994 Cup magic and look at Jeff Beukeboom.
He was the newest member of the Hartford Wolf Pack staff, and is a four-time Stanley Cup champion. Jeff Beukeboom, was named as a Wolf Pack assistant coach July 6, 2012, so he has exposure to coaching at a competitive level. If hired to replace Ulf Samuelsson, he would take over the responsibility of coaching the defense.
Beukeboom was a stay at home defenseman and the perfect partner for offensive stud, Brian Leetch. His experience and tutelage may improve an already incredible pairing in Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. Having played with Brian Leetch for so long, he may be able to unleash the offensive abilities of Ryan McDonagh in ways we may have not yet seen.
Speaking of Brian Leetch, I have not seen or heard anything with regards to him wanting to become an NHL coach in any capacity over the last year. Of course, one conversation with Alain Vigneault could change that. It should be noted that Brian Leetch still holds a level of resentment towards Glen Sather for trading him on his birthday out of NY.
What if Scott Arniel is hired? Who would help with the offense? Well, the Rangers bugaboo in their two biggest Stanley Cup runs has been their power play. If NY wants to really go for it, they should lure Adam Oates to the Big Apple.
Adam Oates may not be the best bench boss and needs to learn to control his emotions and how he states things publicly. He drew the ire of many of his players in his brief time in Washington, but he wouldn’t have to do that here.
Oates’ power plays are always good. He has a great mind for the game and excelled on the man advantage as a player. Fortunately for him, he’s been able to carry that over to coaching. With the Capitals, his power plays worked at a 26% and 23% clip.
Oates uses a 1-3-1 alignment, where one man covers the point, three are across the middle and one big body is around the crease. This formation generates plenty of offensive options by making a penalty kill unit guess who will get the puck next. It’s only drawback is that is requires quick and accurate passing, plus one booming shot.
If Ryan McDonagh can become that heavy shot, Chris Kreider is certainly the big body in front. Matter of fact, if Scott Arniel is still here, he should look at this set up and make it his own.
We will learn in the coming weeks just what challenges lie ahead for the NY Rangers and their coaching staff.