Will the New York Rangers finally name a head coach this week?
The New York Rangers and Gerard Gallant mutually agreed to part ways on May 6. Despite all the speculation that Peter Laviolette was the most likely next head coach, it’s been over a month with no new bench boss.
Usually the NHL does not like attention taken away from their biggest events, such as the Stanley Cup Final. That may conclude on Tuesday if the Vegas Golden Knights can take Game 5. If so, the Rangers could be making an announcement this week.
Let’s review how the story is unfolding up to this point.
New York Rangers head coach search
May 6: Rangers and Gerard Gallant part ways.
“We’re not going to limit ourselves right now to any specific style or type of coach,” GM Chris Drury said. “We want to be as thorough as we can be. Don’t have a set date in mind as of yet; just want to get the right person, whenever that is.”
May 7: First reports that Joel Quenneville was not going to be a consideration for the job. Peter Laviolette immediately deemed the front-runner.
May 9: Rangers relieve assistant coaches Mike Kelly and Jim Midgley of their duties.
May 10: Speculation leads to wild scenario where Pittsburgh Penguins may relieve Mike Sullivan after hiring a new GM.
May 12: Reports surface that Rangers interviewed Mike Babcock. It was later learned that he was not interested in coming back to a big market like New York. The Columbus Blue Jackets will be hiring him.
May 17: Mike Sullivan tells NY Post he’s not going anywhere.
May 19: Rangers get permission to interview Toronto Maple Leafs assistant Spencer Carbery. He’s eventually hired by the Washington Capitals.
May 21: Reports surface that Laviolette was interviewed.
May 27: Rangers get permission to speak with Seattle Kraken assistant Jay Leach
May 28: Rumors fly that the Rangers were expected to announce Laviolette as head coach the following week. That was until the Nashville Predators let John Hynes go.
May 31: Rangers get permission from Predators to speak with recently dismissed head coach John Hynes per NY Post.
June 5: NY Post reports that Patrick Roy will not be given an interview for the vacant Rangers job despite coming off a Memorial Cup victory.
June 8: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman states that the talk out of the NHL Combine has John Hynes very much in the running.
“There seems to be a feeling at the Combine that Hynes has a great shot at it,” Friedman said. “I do believe they had another interview with Hynes this week.”
June 9: Multiple reports indicate that Laviolette was in New York for another interview.
Who will be the next head coach?
At this time, it still looks like Laviolette is the slight favorite. Here’s a quick look at the top two candidates.
Peter Laviolette (752-503-25-150)
The 58 year-old is still the front-runner to land the Rangers job in my opinion. He was fired by the Capitals after they missed the playoffs this season and is the safest bet because he’s the only Stanley Cup winning coach on the list (Carolina Hurricanes 2005-06). Mollie Walker of the NY Post also noted that Drury has a connection to Laviolette having played for him at the 2006 Olympics for Team USA.
John Hynes (284-254-63)
While Drury has a reportedly good relationship with the 48 year-old coach from their playing days at Boston University, I believe this is a hard sell to Rangers ownership. Hynes has a playoff coaching record of just 4-15 (.211 winning percentage) and that’s not something James Dolan is going to get excited about. Despite being known as an excellent mind for strategy, he’s never been able to win when it counts. He’s still one of the few experienced options out there, so that’s playing in his favor.
The Rangers are expected to name a head coach before the NHL Draft on June 28.