Gerard Gallant is set to join one of hockey’s oldest organizations instead of the NHL’s newest franchise after reaching an agreement to coach the New York Rangers.
Gallant and the Rangers have a deal for him to be their next coach, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the agreement, which was first reported by the New York Post.
Gallant was a highly sought-after coaching candidate three years after leading Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season. He is fresh off coaching Canada from an 0-3 start to the gold medal at the world hockey championship and now he will join one of the league’s Original Six franchises.
The 57-year-old Gallant replaces David Quinn, who was fired along with much of his staff by new Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury shortly after the regular season ended. President John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton were fired days earlier, with owner James Dolan citing the need for a “change in leadership.”
It is Gallant’s fourth NHL head coaching job after stints with the Blue Jackets, Panthers and Golden Knights. The 2018 Jack Adams Award winner as coach of the year, Gallant was fired by Vegas midway through the 2019-20 season and replaced by Peter DeBoer.
The Rangers getting Gallant keeps him from the expansion Seattle Kraken, who could have tried to replicate his success with the Golden Knights. The Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres are the other teams left with a coaching vacancy, though the Carolina Hurricanes don’t yet have a new contract for Jack Adams finalist Rod Brind’Amour and the Montreal Canadiens have yet to remove the interim tag from Dominique Ducharme.
Columbus last week promoted assistant Brad Larsen to head coach. Gallant had interviewed for that position along with former Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet.
Stanley Cup winner John Tortorella, Bruce Boudreau and Tocchet are among those available with NHL head-coaching experience. Tortorella coached the Rangers from 2009-2013, a stint that included Drury’s time as captain.
Gallant has coached parts of nine seasons with Columbus, Florida and Vegas and been fired midseason at each stop. He’s 270-216-4-51 in the regular season and beyond the 2018 trip to the final with Vegas has lost once in the first round each with the Panthers and Golden Knights.
He said upon taking the world championship job that it was his hope to win a gold medal — not audition for an NHL team.
“I want to get back to work,” Gallant said April 28. “I wanted to get back to coaching hockey and doing the things that you’re used to doing every day, and I haven’t had that opportunity for quite a while.”
His next opportunity will be at Madison Square Garden with the Rangers, a young team with Norris Trophy finalist defenseman Adam Fox, 2020 MVP finalist winger Artemi Panarin, likely goaltender of the present and future Igor Shesterkin and a young core expected to contend for years to come.
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