2019-2020 NY Rangers Report Card: David Quinn

We saved the best report card for last, and that is David Quinn. Quinn just finished up his second season as NY Rangers head coach, and the team certainly performed better this year than last. The Rangers went 37-28-4 in 69 games this season, a huge improvement on 32-36-14 from the year before. If anything, that shows signs of progression.

There are a few areas to grade Quinn on. The first is the record, which is obviously better than last year. Secondly is the system, something we’ve spoken about regularly here. The third is how the players were deployed.

The System

The system needs help. It’s not the offense, it’s not the powerplay. I’m actually going to give Quinn a break on the defensive zone coverage. The defensive zone system is pretty simple, and when executed properly should minimize quality against. In fact, from December to February, the Rangers were pretty solid in their own zone. Progress is progress.

The issue is neutral zone defending. The Rangers, by design, appear to give up the blue line. I’ve beaten this one to death. The Rangers will not have success defensively if they continue to allow the opposition to gain the blue line with speed. Players in the NHL are too good and too fast to allow that to continue.

If David Quinn and the Rangers are going to take the next step, then this needs to change. Stepping up at the blue line is critical to future success. The Rangers will need the right personnel for this, which is an issue that Quinn himself can’t solve.


This is an area that many had an issue with. Lindy Ruff’s departure may help somewhat, but at the end of the day, this is on Quinn. The biggest issues are with Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, and Marc Staal. Nothing on the players here, just on the coach’s deployment.

The Rangers had their best period of play from December to February. Mika Zibanejad returning from injury played a part here. But this was the time when Hajek went down with an injury. This removed him from the top pair, resulting in Brady Skjei getting more time.

This is also when the Rangers recalled Ryan Lindgren, pushing Marc Staal down the lineup. With Hajek out and Staal on the third pair, Skjei and Lindgren got the lion’s share of ice time at LD. Playing your best players leads to better results. Simply by limiting Staal’s minutes and removing Hajek from the lineup, Quinn lucked into these decisions through the injuries. However, he didn’t revert back to old combos when he found what worked. That’s also a critical piece.

Quinn isn’t the perfect coach. But for every two steps forward the Rangers take, they’ve take one step back in this process. His third year is going to be a big year. It’s all about the process.

David Quinn Report Card: B-

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  • Fair assessment of DQ. He may not have had a deep enough team to really compete in the playoffs. His “in-game” management needs to be better. I hope the defensive side has a new system that limits chances. Adding more talent to this team could make DQ into a much better coach.

  • Given that DQ is a so called teaching coach, he should get a “C” grade at best.

    Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, and Brady Skjei all regressed under this coach. Andersson got fed up with his tactics, and Kravs went back to Russia, which I suspect DQ had plenty to do with on both counts. He also is reluctant to play all four lines, as well as the kids getting the minimal amount of time. Personally, I would have picked someone else for the position, but that’s for another day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Walt
      You make excellent points.
      A coach needs to win to succeed and he leaned heavily on his best players, sometimes at the expense of some of the younger players. For the NYR to improve, the younger players need to take a step up. Chytil, Kakko and Howden on offense really need to improve. DQ may not “nurture” the kids enough, which is probably why he was brought in here in the first place.

  • Can any coach manage the changes in rosters that NY has had happening the last two seasons?

    I feel like the tides moving really fast for this team, it’s hard to get a honest feel for any coach but DQ has had impact on several younger players. Plus players like BUCH and Chytil have improved after a season or two under him. I think Kappo’s year will also provide proof that DQ is doing a good job.

    But again, these changes in roster are really big, I am not sure how any coach could do any better then DQ up til now…

    more to come on DQ…

    I think if this club misses the PO’s DQ is a memory, I may even go so far as to say the team needs to finish easily in the PO’s and can not get swept out as well for him to remain the head coach.

  • I would give him a C- to a C+.. For a coach who was supposed to be a good teacher and strategist in college didn’t follow him to the pros.

    1st and foremost should have canned Ruff, and as Walt said in game management left a lot to be desired plus other things.

    Lot of times was out coached. Couldn’t change in game on the fly. Should have set himself up with an experienced assistant to help him.

    Player deployment,use of all 4 lines, and stubbornness with younger players, ( tried too many times to plug a round peg into a square hole).

    Hopefully now with Martin onboard he will help him with all of the above.

  • Like any person on a new job I think it’s important to give them a chance. Quinn now has 2 seasons under his belt and I am sure the front office is during a review on his coaching as well.

    The team did improve in the second season under Quinn’s tenure. The Rangers are a very young team and I would think they should be improving as they gain experience in the NHL.

    While I am not surprised that Carolina beat Quinn’s team out, in the prilimary round, I expected more effort from his Rangers. The team did not look ready and they were out worked in all 3 zones.

    I look at his teams lineup and I see a lot of raw talent with some high caliber veterans leading the way. The young players need to be coached to play the right way. I think Quinn knows that and it’s going to be interesting to see if the other young Rangers can follow the same trajectory of improvement as ADA did last season.

    Quinn should be given another year behind the bench to see where he take his Ranger squad. But with now 4 early 1st round picks, Bread, Zib, Kreider Trouba in the lineup, the expectations are high by Ranger fans. This is a show me year for Coach Quinn.

    • Expectations will be higher and I am beginning to wonder if they will be more aggressive in the trade market. Cannot waste Panarin and Zibs best years of hockey. I have been concerned about this…

  • C-. The only reason he won more games was because Gorton added Panarin and Trouba. He does not appear to be an NHL coach. The arrogance of Vigneau, without any of the experience. DA developed because Gorton trading another Quinn favorite (a college boy) to Jets. His treatment of young Europeans is puzzling, particularly when guys like Howden do get the chance to fail. Had such high hopes. Quinn doesn’t appear to be the answer unless he pulls his head out and listens to those with more experience.

    • Tell ’em 403. Add Fox to Panarin and Trouba. If not for these three and Shesty in Jan his 2nd-year record would probably have been worse than his 1st-year record. So in this regard, excluding the cap issues(if that is possible) JG did well in helping DQ remain on the job. For a guy who was supposed to be able to get it with young guys, he gets a D. His handling of the 2 European kids you mentioned was simply atrocious. Those 2 should’ve been in the lineup and given minutes and responsibilities at the get-go. Let them fail on the ice….then teach them. There were no playoff expectations, and DQ was still on his honeymoon, so he could have tried to help them. It’s way easier today with digital devices to show how and why you want things to be. Handling the press and upper management should have been easy, like “it’s a teaching moment or a 5/6 game review of abilities”. Ah well…..hopefully the experience will help.

  • C for the season. F for the playoffs. Final grade D. Zero communication between Ruff & Quinn in the QR to combat Carolina’s continuous assault. At least they could have done something like tightening up the neutral zone if only to quiet the Hurricanes’ constant pressure and possession. There was no counter plan.

    Constant deployment of Howden was also a head scratcher. Lias and Krav’s reactions were a concern for me too, although Chytil’s was positive. Not sure if he’s anything more than a decent college coach.

  • I have disagreed with Quinn’s coaching in the areas that David highlights and agree mostly with his analysis. The neutral zone play and blue line are frustrating to me.

    I’d lower the grade a hair to C+ because of the Rangers poor showing in the playoffs. Yes, they had Tony D operating basically on one leg for the final couple of games and no Lemieux for the first two , but except for Kreider no one went to the damn net. They played fairly well in the final game, but that was far too late. So, I’d lower the grade a bit because I felt that Quinn didn’t have an answer for the Carolina team’s tactics and because I felt his Rangers were not as well prepared. I think they could have played better, however, and I am not saying that they should have won. They are still a young team and he is dealing with that.

  • IMO, this is the most important season for D.Q…….If they improve next season and make the playoffs, I don’t see a coaching change.,,but if they regress with an improved D and LaFrenchise….He could be in trouble, especially with Mr. Martins now on board.

    • Agree pal. Big year for DQ. However, if Martin replaces him , it would be a major step backwards. He is an awful coach with very little success

  • So good decisions are “lucked into” bad decisions are his alone? Got It!

    DQ has played many kids in multiple positions and situations. Thats something we all wanted.

    Under his coaching, several players have taken the next step in their development. Ryan Strome for one and this is before he played with Panarin. Buchnevich has become a more all around player when he is engaged in the games. Mika has come into his own and thats just some of the young vets. Lindgren has become a solid NHL number 4 dman who may yet become a number 2. Adam Fox flourished in his system. Chytil is improving and when he finally decides to use his size consistently, he will indeed become the 2c we all know he can be.

    DQ has some issues too that he needs to work on. His deployment of some players can leave you scratching your head like B Smith on the 4th line. PDiG was in Hartford for way too long while Smith was miss cast on the fourth line. He plays Staal too many minutes particularly on the PK. He has to get better too.

    Bottom line. He has them playing hard for him. They dont quit and the players seem to like playing for him. However, this is a big year for him in my view. Anything less than a playoff spot would be disappointing and could cost him his job.

    A shaky B form me .

    • Czech, yours was the most balanced assessment on this thread. I might go B- because of Quinn’s stubbornness in his handling of certain personnel moves, and I agree with the point someone made above about yielding the blueline too easily, but overall I think you summed him up very well.

    • I agree, it’s a mixed bag. That said some of the positive and negative developments may not even be related to DQ, I mean Fox would have probably thrived anywhere (same for Mika), maybe Andersson would have had the same “issues” under any head coach in the NHL (same for Kravs) … but all we can go by are the results since we don’t have access to all the behind the scenes activity.

      One thing that irked me though was the short leash on the 4th line … and especially with players like Gauthier who hardly played. We can sit here and try to evaluate him as a player, but we never really got a chance to see him play with the coach’s confidence backing him up.

  • As a follow up.

    Fox played big minutes and so did Lindgren. Chytil did when his game was on. Kakko did in the playoffs when he was a much different player and better player. Lets not forget the great work he’s done with ADA. Lots of positives here. A guy like Martin doesnt play young players and would be an awful head coach. Lindy Ruff for all his negatives has been a much more successful NHL coach than Martin.

    in closing. Only 10 days until our future captain, Alex Lafreniere is a New York Ranger!!

  • ranger fans as usual are over evaluating the roster. Look at the teams in the finals, they have 4 lines they can put on the ice to produce. the Rangers are sadly lacking when it comes to grit and willingness to check. Andersson was a mistake and maybe could bring back something in a future trade. The Rangers have good offensive talent but they are young and prone to mistakes. Blaming the coach is way too easy. This team needs to be build through good drafting and trades. Recycling coaches is not the answer. Coach Quinn is doing a good job with a very young team.

  • Ridiculous! not well thought out lacking in honesty candor and knowledge. They only played better because they got better players. He was in competent with the young players and his line matching was ridiculous!

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