Though it had been expected for some time, the New York Rangers have officially announced David Quinn as their next head coach. The former Boston University coach will be the 35th head coach in Rangers history, and try to take the team in a new direction after a disappointing 2017-18.
New York has had a tumultuous few months, since finding themselves out of the playoff race relatively early. After telling their fans in an open letter that a rebuild was coming, the team traded away several key pieces including Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, J.T. Miller, and Michael Grabner, collecting draft picks and prospects for their future seasons. At the end of the year, Alain Vigneault was let go as head coach, with an expectation that a fresh new voice would be introduced as the next head coach. That could have been Jim Montgomery, who reportedly turned down a bigger offer from the Rangers to go and coach the Dallas Stars, but will instead be Quinn, fresh off another successful season with BU.
Quinn, 51, will jump right from the college ranks after five seasons as the head man for BU. He has just one season of NHL assistant coaching experience, and three years as the head coach of the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL. The Monsters finished out of the playoffs in two of those years, and were knocked out in the first round in the third. Quinn never played in the NHL, despite being a first-round pick of the Minnesota North Stars. After starring at BU as a defenseman he was diagnosed with Haemophilia B and was forced to retire, though he returned to the game briefly a few years later, playing 19 games in the AHL.
Still, there are many who believe Quinn can find success in the NHL despite his relative lack of experience. Players like Jack Eichel, Clayton Keller and Charlie McAvoy all speak highly of their time playing under him in the NCAA, and believe he was an integral part of their development into NHL players. The Rangers will hope he can do similar things for some of their young players as they try to turn the franchise around quickly.
After trading McDonagh and others, the Rangers find themselves with three first-round picks this season and several high-profile prospects in the pipeline. That’s after already selecting twice in the first round last season, and seemingly hitting on both Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil. If the team can find some more talents in the first round, and develop the likes of Brett Howden, Libor Hajek and Ryan Lindgren, it might not take long for them to be back among those fighting for the playoffs. Quinn will be tasked with helping a roster that could lose even more veteran presence this summer compete in both the short and long-term.