It was hard to see how David Quinn would survive the firings of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton in the final week of the season, and today Chris Drury made it official, removing all but Benoit Allaire from their coaching positions.
Quinn had joined the Rangers straight from Boston University, taking over a team that had been gutted following the 2017-18 season pledge to rebuild. With most of their top talent traded off, the Rangers turned to youth, presenting a team that was far from complete during Quinn’s tenure.
Ove those three years, the Rangers added key free agents Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba, along with some help in the NHL draft lottery that resulted in the second overall pick of Kaapo Kakko in 2019 and last year’s first overall pick in Alexis Lafreniere.
Under Quinn the Rangers compiled a 96-87-25 record, missing the playoffs all three years, including a 3-0 sweep by the Carolina Hurricanes in last season’s one-off play-in series.
Several individual players had strong seasons under Quinn though, with Artemi Panarin setting career highs last year in goals (32) and points (95) despite playing only 69 games. Likewise, Mika Zibanejad crossed the 40 goal mark for the first time in the COVID abbreviated season last year, as well as setting a career high 75 points while playing just 57 games.
Other players to have turned in defining performances include Adam Fox this season who is the Norris trophy conversation, and Ryan Strome who set career marks of 18 goals, 41 asssits and 59 points last season.
With the pressure to return to the playoffs, the Rangers are thought to be in search of a veteran to guide the team to the next step. There are several on the market now, including former head coach John Tortorella, along with the likes of Gerard Gallant (most recently with Vegas), Bruce Boudreau (Wild) and Mike Babcock (Maple Leafs). Rick Tocchet (Coyotes) also is on the market, after agreeing to part ways with the team.
Another one to consider is Patrick Roy, with the former goaltending great having played with Chris Drury in Colorado. Roy had a three year stint as Head Coach with the Colorado Avalanche from 2013 through to 2016, making the playoffs in his first year, but failing to get the team into the post-season in his final two years.