2021 Rangers Coaching Search, Gerard Gallant

The early thoughts on the Rangers coaching search

5/14/21 | 10:40 AM: Elliotte Friedman said on the 30 Thoughts Podcast, “I think what Chris Drury is going to do is they are doing their research on candidates. They have made it clear that they are looking for someone with experience and some of these guys they know, if you look at the list of potential options there are some people there that you can look up and down and say that the Rangers know this guy, that guy, they know this guy, they don’t know that particular guy. One of the people I don’t think they know very well that they are doing a lot of research on is Gallant and I do think that they are potentially interested in Gallant, but they are doing their research on him. They know Hartley, Chris Drury certainly does, he was his first NHL head coach, they know Tortorella, I don’t think he’s the favorite, one of the reasons why I think Tortorella’s name got out there is because the word is that James Dolan really likes Tortorella. I think Drury is going to have a big say in this particular hire, obviously.”

Friedman continued, “They know about Babcock, they know about Roy. Gallant was not a guy that they didn’t know as much about and they are asking a lot of questions about him and I do think he’s a legit contender. The thing about here that I kind of wonder about, we all think Brind’Amour is going back to Carolina, but in the off chance that it doesn’t happen, I think the Rangers would be very interested. They can’t say anything because it’s tampering, I’m not getting any help from them on that, but I do think that is a guy they would love to have if the opportunity becomes available.” (30 Thoughts )


5/13/21 | 6:30PM: Darren Dreger said on TSN that the Rangers have been granted permission by Vegas to interview Gerard Gallant “so clearly he is one of the top candidates in the process that has been started by GM Chris Drury. The timing has more to do with the travel plans for Gallant as he is head coach for Team Canada and on his way to Latvia this weekend, so the Rangers at least want to spend some time and have at least one conversation with Gerard Gallant” before he starts as Canada’s coach at the World Championships.

1:47PM: Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that Gerard Gallant is believed to be at the top of Chris Drury’s list of coaches to replace David Quinn.

Wednesday on Hockey Night in Canada, Chris Johnston said “The New York Rangers are in the market for an experienced head coach after David Quinn and most of his staff were fired…right now Gerard Gallant appears to be a name at the top of the list or one certainly the Rangers have a lot of interest in, but the early word is that they are going to wait and see how this coaching picture shakes up, there could be some other candidates that come into the mix and so I wouldn’t necessarily expect a decision to be made too soon.” (Sportsnet)

Elliotte Friedman said that while the expectation is that Rod Brind’Amour will stay in Carolina but “if that goes sideways at all I would think the Rangers would want to at least ask if he’d be interested.” (Sportsnet)

On his podcast, Pierre LeBrun said “I think the Rangers are going to talk to a number of guys and I wouldn’t be shocked if Gallant is one of the names that we hear linked to the Rangers, among others, but I think you’ll start to hear Gallant’s name a bit more as he gets ready to coach Canada at the World Championships. A lot of people mentioning John Tortorella, Rick Tocchet is now a free agent, all of those guys would be possibilities for the Rangers.” (The Athletic)

LeBrun added, “I will predict, without knowing for sure, that I don’t think this job goes to a first time NHL coach, it will be someone with experience because the timing is right for that.” (The Athletic)

Darren Dreger said on TSN 1260 that “what has been speculated, Rick Tocchet I think would be in the mix, Gerard Gallant, which shouldn’t be a surprise, his name has been thrown at me, he should be in the mix and nobody with the Rangers is willing to dismiss the outright possibility of John Tortorella coming back to the Rangers. That feels like a stretch to me, but Chris Drury as an inexperienced GM will go through a process and James Dolan is always involved to some degree, the owner of the Rangers so it’s going to be interesting to see who they land.”

Asked about John Tortorella, Pierre McGuire said on TSN1200 Ottawa, said “I think there will be a pretty extensive search, I don’t think it’s going to be a quick decision, but John would be on that list for sure, Patrick Roy would probably be on that list because of the teammate factor with Chris Drury in Colorado where they won the Cup together, Gerard Gallant will be on that list 100%, Rick Tocchet will be on that list. Mike Babcock will probably get an interview, I don’t know how high up on the list he would be, but I think Torts is probably right near the top of the list just based on the information I have on how ownership views him”

Adam Rotter: The early thought from many around the league is that Gerard Gallant is the favorite right now, but that it’s still a pretty open search. The expectation is that Chris Drury, and probably Glen Sather, are going to speak with a number of candidates and that the Rangers aren’t in a huge rush to make a decision. The Rangers have the most appealing opportunity so they can hold up most of the coaching searches around the league until they find their guy.

I don’t think the Rangers are holding their breath for things to break down between Rod Brind’Amour and the Hurricanes and there don’t appear to be many other coaches on the hot seat. When you look at the 16 playoff teams there aren’t many that would seem like they might make a change. Montreal has a decision to make with Dominique Ducharme, but he wouldn’t be a fit for the Rangers, though Gerard Gallant could be a fit in Montreal. Gallant was an assistant in Montreal before he went to Florida, but conceivably the Canadiens could have hired him when they fired Claude Julien earlier this season. Maybe Colorado makes a move on Jared Bednar if they get knocked out early, but that seems unlikely. Paul Maurice was extended in Winnipeg last year, but maybe he gets let go if Winnipeg loses to the Oilers and they decide to shake things up. Everyone else seems to have a stable coach.

Until the moment he is hired elsewhere or the Rangers hire someone else John Tortorella will be linked to the job. I would imagine that Torts is James Dolan’s top candidate, and that may be all that matters, but I just don’t see him as the right fit for where the team is right now.

They have more than enough choices that meet the experience criteria and that is without including Marc Crawford, who won the 1996 Stanley Cup with Colorado and is an assistant with Chicago, and Dan Bylsma who won the 2009 cup with Pittsburgh and is now an assistant with Detroit. I think Bylsma, who Drury knows through USA Hockey, could be an under the radar candidate, but right now it seems like Gallant is at the top of the list.