After more than a month of searching, Chris Drury and the Rangers announced today that Peter Laviolette will be the 37th head coach of the team. Laviolette joins New York after being let go by the Washington Capitals at the conclusion of an unsuccessful regular season.
The Rangers will be Laviolette’s sixth franchise as head coach, and his 752 career wins ranks him 8th all in the NHL. With a .587 Point Percentage across his 1430 career games, the Massachusetts native will be counted on replicate the regular season success the Rangers have had the last two years, but more importantly to get them into Cup contention after a disappointing finish this past year.
Laviolette has reached the Cup Final on three occasions in 21 seasons, first with Carolina in 2006 when he won, and then losing both with Philadelphia (2010) and Nashville (2017). He most recently coached the Capitals, taking over from Cup winner Barry Trotz, but bowing out in the first round in each of his first two years, before missing the playoffs altogether this past season as age and injuries finally caught up with Washington.
His deal this time round will be three seasons, a tenure he’s met or exceeded in all but his first stop, when he coached the New York Islanders. Laviolette also returns to the only NHL team he played for, having appeared in 12 games as left handed defenseman during the 1988-89 season.
As to whether he’s the right coach to get the Rangers across the line remains to be seen, though it’s clear he should at least be comfortable handling the media in a market that has perhaps more pressure than many of his other stops.