1 Month Later: Why haven’t Rangers found replacement for Gerard Gallant yet?

Rangers take game 1 over Devils with win
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) watches the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Sunday, April 2, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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We’re a whole month past the New York Rangers mutually parting ways with Gerard Gallant after a disappointing Game 7 loss to the New Jersey Devils

Failing to meet the high expectations that were with the team to start the year, general manager Chris Drury has looked far and wide for a potential candidate to replace the coach with the highest winning percentage to begin his career in Rangers history. 

A month later though, the questions surrounding who will coach this talented roster still have yet to be answered. 

With every new name tied to the team in some way, whether that be through an interview or personal connection with Drury, confidence in a new hire continues to dwindle the longer the Rangers shuffle their feet in naming a new head coach. 

So what gives? Why have the Rangers taken a month to essentially decide between two candidates? Is there a dark horse people don’t know that’s altering the overall process?

In short, there are several factors. 

Due Diligence Matters

It’s important for franchises to not rush major decisions. That’s a key lesson many teams have learned over the years whether it’s signing specific players or hiring the top name for a head coaching job. Drury being patient in hiring a coach is a sign that New York continues to be thorough in their deliberation of who they feel would be the right head coach. 

On that fundamental truth, Drury continues to show how he’s grown as a general manager. That being said, the longer the team waits on what appears to be two candidates, the longer it appears the Rangers aren’t exactly thrilled with who is available and left among the coaching circles. 

It’s a double-edged sword that New York has played and has left their fanbase frustrated. Good coaches like Stever Carbery and Andrew Brunette were plucked from other teams that made a move instantly when they realized their potential. The Rangers shuffled their feet and hoped that a different candidate would be made available over the next few weeks. 

It’s been a month now though, and a team having due diligence can easily turn to a team second-guessing their decision to fire their head coach and left with picking up the pieces. 

Lackluster Picks

For the better part of the last week, it appears that the coaching search is down to Peter Laviolette or John Hynes. Both picks have inspired little joy in the fanbase and have left many wondering where the team would go from here. 

Laviolette has a championship pedigree but hasn’t won a playoff series since 2017. Hynes on the other hand hasn’t even won a playoff series in nine years as a head coach even though he was given plenty of time with both New Jersey and Nashville. 

New York could end up making a decision today between the two veteran coaches, or they could turn to Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch to grow with a young core of stars. Knoblauch’s hiring would bring at least some form of positive spin for the franchise. Hartford had a solid run in the Calder Cup Playoffs and Knoblauch has also filled in at the NHL level multiple times throughout his career. 

Whether the Rangers choose the safe pick in Laviolette, the gamble with Hynes, or the fan favorite in Knoblauch, the longer they wait to make a decision, the less patient their fanbase grows. With a decision this important, the team needs to make sure that this incoming coach can and should be around for the long term. 

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