Former Rangers blueliner Jeff Beukeboom is likely the fan’s choice to replace Ulf Samuelsson and he’s the emotional choice to be the Rangers next assistant coach thanks to all his obvious connections to the big club. Emotions aside however, and Beukeboom is indeed the right choice, and for several critical reasons.
Continuity is something that’s a common theme in successful organisations and Beukeboom knows the organisation better than maybe anyone else – certainly better than any other assistant coach candidate. It can only be seen as an advantage that he’s so familiar with the club, with the systems and with the majority of the blueliners in the organisation.
Beukeboom has been with the WolfPack since 2012 and will know better than most how the Rangers can best integrate Dylan McIlrath (assuming he is even retained – which he should be). Beukeboom will know Brady Skjei well from their time together last season so he’ll surely be able to help accelerate the Rangers top prospect into a top four role. He’ll also know how far away fellow blueline prospect Ryan Graves is from being NHL ready following his own solid introduction to pro hockey.
Assume for a moment Graves has outstanding off and pre-seasons and is either close to a call up or is deemed on the bubble as a 6/7D. In this case Beukeboom will have had a direct ‘influence’ on 4 of the Rangers top 6-7 blueliners next season. Don’t underestimate the intimate knowledge the current Wolfpack Assistant possesses about the Rangers stable of blueliners and how that should help with improving the unit’s performance.
Most will agree that the Rangers biggest Achilles heel this year was their defensive unit. Why not bring a well regarded veteran into the fold who knows the unit so well? It seems a no-brainer. The Rangers would really benefit if Skjei and McIlrath were ready for significant roles next year. Their readiness will surely be accelerated by Beukeboom’s presence.
Beukeboom is in fact also an essential choice given just how important it is to the Rangers to improve the ‘D’ in the short to mid term. If the team is going to stick with Dan Girardi and Marc Staal then they’ll need the younger defenseman in the system to improve, play important minutes and assume meaningful roles and at least begin to push Dan Girardi into a lesser (and more appropriate) role. Can the Rangers achieve all this just as easily if they hire an external candidate who hasn’t the familiarity with the organisation’s current crop of youngsters? Debateable.
Jeff Beukeboom is the logical choice, he’s the emotional chose and it appears he’s the best choice for the now and to ensure someone is best placed to positively impact the future if the defensive core remains the same.