When the New York Rangers hired Gerard Gallant in June of 2021, the team was looking for a coach that could get the most out of a talented young team and send them to the playoffs.
Two years later, the expectations have changed, and with that, new leadership appears to be on its way.
New York announced that they have agreed to part ways with head coach Gerard Gallant after two seasons on Saturday afternoon.
“I want to first thank Gerard for his work and commitment to the Rangers during his time as head coach,” general manager Chris Drury said in a statement. “I have a ton of respect for Gerard as both a coach and person and truly appreciate everything he did for us on and off the ice these last two seasons. After my evaluation of the season and discussions with Gerard, we mutually came to the conclusion that a change would be beneficial for both parties. I wish he and his family all the best in the future. Our search for a new head coach will begin right away.”
The move comes after the Rangers were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in seven games to their rival New Jersey Devils. Trade deadline acquisitions of Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane though increased expectations around the Rangers to a fever pitch that the team wasn’t able to meet.
Because of that, they will be looking for a new coach after two of the most successful regular seasons in franchise history. Gallant leaves New York with the highest winning percentage for a coach that has been with the team for more than a full season. Under his tutelage, the Rangers won over 100 points in back-to-back seasons – just the third time in franchise history.
Improved play from young stars like Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and K’Andre Miller also helped in the team’s long-term plan. However losing a first-round series with a reigning Vezina-winning goaltender, and several All-Stars at their disposal meant that expectations crashed at an alarming rate.
The failure to reach expectations during the 2022-23 season has led to both sides believing a change was needed.
“I would like to thank Mr. Dolan, Chris and the Rangers organization for giving me the opportunity to be their head coach these last two seasons,” said Gallant in a following statement. “The experience of coaching an Original Six franchise with such rich history and an incredibly passionate fanbase is something I will never forget. After conversations with my family and Chris, it became clear that this was the right decision for both myself and the Rangers at this time.”
New York will now be searching for a new head coach with plenty of experienced individuals like Joel Quenneville, Darryl Sutter, and Peter Laviolette among those looking to coach a veteran team like the Rangers possess.