The move came as the final step in doing a complete sweep of the team’s decision makers, with ownership firing GM Jeff Gorton and president John Davidson last week.
As a team with so much talent scattered around the lines, including younger guys who have yet to scratch the surface of their full potential, it was hard to see this Rangers team be the No. 5 team in the East Division when only the Top 4 make the playoffs.
With the playoffs and beyond in mind, the Rangers brass, which is now headed by new president and GM Chris Drury, will need to bring in the right coach for this squad.
Here’s a list of potential candidates:
Gerard Gallant — 270-216-51
Gallant was most recently the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights and led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season back in 2017-2018. He coached the team for the next season and a half before being fired in January of 2020.
Gallant has a trend of not sticking around for too long as head coach — he spent just three seasons with his first team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, before being fired back in 2006, and was with the Florida Panthers from 2014-2017 before being fired there as well.
However, he’s had much success in his last two stops — including helping manufacture the Panthers’ revival and entrance into the 2016 playoffs.
According to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, Gallant is the favorite for the Rangers position and should expect an interview with Drury in the near future.
John Tortorella — 673-541-132
The former Rangers head coach, whose contract with the Blue Jackets just expired, could make a return to Madison Square Garden, but it seems unlikely given the current group of players representing the Blueshirts.
Tortorella, who coached the Rangers from 2008-2013, is one of the toughest game managers in the league and is known for being hard on players. Considering Quinn’s release was in part due to a disconnection between himself and the players, bringing aboard someone with Tortorella’s reputation would be questionable.
But if he’s maintained a good relationship with James Dolan and Glen Sather, then a reunion with the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion coach may be possible.
Patrick Roy — 130-92-24
Roy is a four-time Cup winner as a player — the last of which he won with Drury as members of the 2001 Colorado Avalanche. As head coach of the Avalanche from 2013-2016, he led the team to the playoffs once, but otherwise had mixed results.
Although he isn’t as experienced coaching as some of the other candidates, his relationship with Drury should, at the very least, get him an interview for the position — if he wants one.
Bob Hartley — 463-361-59
Drury and Roy’s coach when they won the 2001 Stanley Cup, Hartley would certainly have the GM’s ear if the two were to work together again in New York.
Hartley spent time successfully rebuilding the Atlanta Thrashers (2002-2008) and Calgary Flames (2012-2016) in the past, leading both to playoff appearances after years of struggling.
Rick Tocchet — 178-200-60
A former Stanley Cup Champion as a player, Tocchet hasn’t had the same success as a coach yet, making the playoffs in just one of his six seasons on the bench between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes.
Tocchet could set another hard working tone if he was brought on.