NY Rangers training camp with new head coach Peter Laviolette opens this week.

Despite rumors that the Rangers coaching search delays may have been due to Patrick Roy being looked at as their next head coach, Mollie Walker threw cold water on that. Roy is not an option for the Rangers and he will not be given an interview. It’s safe to assume his personality and prior issues with Colorado were part of the reason, as he wanted more power (he’s the GM of his QMJHL team as well). Since Roy is off the table, and only 1 or 2 real options remain, then what is the hold up for Chris Drury on the hire?

To better understand, we first need to look at the options in the Rangers coaching search that are both currently available and the ones that Drury may be waiting on. First and foremost is Mike Sullivan, whom Drury wanted initially over Gerard Gallant. Sullivan stayed in Pittsburgh when Gallant was hired, and is likely to stay with the Penguins despite their front office overhaul. Sully is a pipe dream, and not a realistic option.

Mike Babcock was never a real option for the Rangers, and he’s going to Columbus anyway. Spencer Carbery was interviewed, but took the Washington job. Andrew Brunette went to Nashville, and the Rangers were denied the chance to interview him.

Rangers coaching search down to 2 likely options

This leaves John Hynes, Peter Laviolette, and Jay Leach as coaches who have interviewed as part of the Rangers coaching search. Kris Knoblauch appears to be an option, but there has been no word on whether he has interviewed. Of this quartet, it appears to be between Laviolette, who had a second interview, and Hynes. For whatever reason, Drury isn’t hitching his wagon to a first time head coach at the NHL level.

If it is truly just Laviolette vs. Hynes, then the answer is very clear. I’m not going to re-hash the entire Patreon post (subscribe here!), but it’s not even close. Laviolette is the only real option of the two. Better results. Better systems. Better offense. Same personalities.

But none of this answers the big question. What is the delay in naming a head coach?

Drury didn’t expect Gallant to flame out as quickly as he did. They are both professionals and likely could have worked through their personal disagreements, putting together a roster that should rebound appropriately. However the exit interviews were clearly the straw that broke the camel’s back, with many players noting they didn’t have structure. For a GM that emphasized roles and structure, this feedback was damning for Gallant.

So now it appears the Rangers coaching search is two sides of the same coin. Drury is going to have to choose, likely between these Laviolette and Hynes. Perhaps the delay is about how each coach plans on getting through to both Alexis Lafreniere and Artemi Panarin, the players taking the brunt of the blame this offseason. Perhaps the delay is about finding the right zone exit strategy, a major issue for the Rangers last year.

Or perhaps the delay is because Drury doesn’t like either option in the Rangers coaching search and is hoping something else materializes. He appears to be up to his chin in a pool of excrement, with a pile of it thrown at his face. Does he duck into the pool? Or does he let it hit him in the face? There’s no winning answer there.

I hope you enjoyed that visual.

In the grand scheme of things, the Rangers need a coach for the next 2-3 years for their current window. After that, contracts become tradeable and they can shift the reins to the kids, if they develop. Hence, it is crucial to get through to Panarin now for a true Cup run, and Lafreniere (and Kakko and Chytil and others) for future runs when they start taking over from the current core.

There is no right answer for Drury. There is no wrong answer for Drury. At this point, just flip the coin and deal with the results as best as he can. No perfect candidate exists.


More About: