If you can’t beat them, hire their assistant coach? That’s the question the New York Rangers will have to answer regarding New Jersey Devils’ assistant head coach Andrew Brunette.
Gerard Gallant’s removal as head coach of the Blueshirts leaves an important piece to the Rangers championship puzzle unsolved going as get closer to the end of May. While general manager Chris Drury has maintained that New York won’t rush to fill their vacant position, taking too long could ultimately hurt them in the long run.
So as Drury’s search continues, plenty of big coaching names have been hovering around the team currently. Whether it’s veterans like Peter Laviolette or young bright minds like Kris Knoblauch, the Rangers aren’t going to shy away from any potential candidate.
So where does Andrew Brunette fit into all this? In today’s installment of head coach profiles, we look at one of the most successful assistant coaches in the NHL today, and if the Rangers should take a flier out on him.
Coaching Profile: Andrew Brunette
Current Title: Associate head coach with New Jersey Devils
NHL Experience: 16 years as a player, 1 year as head coach, multiple years as front office executive
Pros to hiring Brunette
- Strong communicator
- Playoff experience behind the bench
- has gotten the most out of young talent
Cons to hiring Brunette
- Off-ice concerns
- Inability to adapt during lone playoff run with Panthers
- The Panthers got farther without him at the helm
Like any head coach in this hiring cycle, Brunette has plenty of positives but some glaring negatives that could get in the way of a potential head coaching hire. First, Brunette has been touted as a strong communicator, is a former player, and has experience both as an executive and coach. His exploits have helped young players like Jack Hughes reach superstardom just this past year. That’s an important factor when realizing the Rangers need someone to get the most out of a young core of unproven talent.
Brunette also has shown his chops as a head coach when he took over after Joel Quenneville was removed in Florida and led them to the President’s Trophy. He even won a playoff series with a loaded roster while other President Trophy winners haven’t even gotten out of the first round.
But that’s where some of Brunette’s issues have come up. Some analysts believe that the Panthers’ overwhelming talent level is the reason for his success, not the adjustments he made. In fact, a lack of adjustments in last year’s playoff run was a reason why Florida was swept by rival Tampa Bay in the second round. Paul Maurice took over for Brunette and has them in the Eastern Conference Finals for
Add in a previous arrest for a DUI back in February and there are plenty of reasons why the Rangers could look elsewhere for their head coaching position.