We’re a couple of weeks removed from the New York Rangers parting ways with their former head coach. Gerard Gallant’s two-year run with the organization may have led to regular-season success. Still, the disappointing finish to the playoffs in 2023 ultimately led to the front office looking for a change in leadership.
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In the wake of Gallant’s departure, general manager Chris Drury is now tasked with trying to find the right head coach to lead a veteran team to the promised lands. While many fans and analysts believe that an experienced coach is needed, New York also has several young options to consider.
Throughout the week, we’ll be going over some of the people that are expected to be up for the Rangers coaching job, and if they would make a good fit with what the organization needs.
Today, we start with a coach that is already familiar with how the Rangers like to play.
Coaching Profile: Kris Knoblauch
Current Title: Hartford Wolf Pack head coach (Rangers’ AHL affiliate)
NHL Experience: Two years as assistant head coach with Philadelphia Flyers (2017-2019)
Pros to hiring Knoblauch
- Great experience with the young core on the Rangers roster
- helped develop young talent on the club
- Currently leading Hartford to Atlantic Division Finals in Calder Cup Playoffs
- A strong relationship with Chris Drury
Cons to hiring Knoblauch
- No playoff experience
- There are more experienced coaches available
- No guarantee veterans buy-in
- Will need an adjustment period
With Kris Knoblauch, the Rangers could have a head coach that is not only familiar with the organization but has experience with many of the young stars on the team. That could go a long way to gaining the trust of the locker room. The success the Hartford Wolf Pack is having in the playoffs currently also shows that the coach has the ability to adjust from series to series which is a big reason why the Rangers are even looking for a new head coach right now.
Experience matters though in the NHL to a lot of people. While the Wolf Pack head coach has filled in for Gallant over the last few years due to COVID protocols, there isn’t a lot of day-to-day experience with older veterans. Even with his relationship with Drury, Knoblauch doesn’t have the experience that other guys have that is available.
This decision could very well be determined by if the Rangers’ front office believes in the message their AHL lead man is giving, and if they believe he can win over the locker room quickly. New York has a bunch of veterans that may not take kindly to another inexperienced coach, but how Knoblauch conducts himself could very well determine if he is a viable candidate to lead the Rangers into 2023.
Chance of Knoblauch being hired for the job: Above Average
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