Rangers Notebook: Vigneault brings much different style than Tortorella
Much of the first day of the Alain Vigneault Era was dedicated to Torts reform.
Throughout his press conference and, later, a round table discussion with the writers that cover the team, Vigneault explained a philosophy diametrically opposed to the one employed by former head coach John Tortorella.
“I like my teams to play the right way which is, if you’ve got room to make a play, make a play. I believe your top skilled players have to be given a little bit more latitude. That’s why they have that high-end skill,” Vigneault said. “You have to put a system in place that maximizes their talent.
“Right now, I feel like here in New York, in talking with a few other people in management, our skill base is pretty solid.”
Still, there will be some changes. Vigneault is looking to employ at least three assistant coaches, and he will implement Corsi advanced statistics into game plans.
Much like its baseball cousin sabermetrics, Corsi — named after Jim Corsi, a former Buffalo assistant coach — examines why teams and players succeed or fail using mathematical analysis such as the percentage of shifts started in the offensive zone.
During the 2013 season, Daniel Sedin started 66 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. His brother and linemate, Henrik, started 63.7 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. Henrik Sedin led the Canucks in points last season with 45. Daniel Sedin was second on the team with 40.
“I will use my offensive players more in the offensive zone,” Vigneault said. “It’s the right place for them to start. It gives them more opportunity to have success.”
Rangers notes …
» Vigneault has not yet had a chance to speak with Rangers players. He estimated that he would begin talking to players “in the next couple weeks,” following the draft and free agency.
“Glen and I are going to sit down in the next couple days and come up with a possible list of names that we feel can help our organizations,” Vigneault said.
The only players on the team he has a history with are Arron Asham, Martin Biron, Brad Richards, Taylor Pyatt and Ryane Clowe.
» Team president and general manager Glen Sather told reporters that he spoke on the phone with Henrik Lundqvist’s agent, Don Meehan, Friday morning. He believes the two will meet next week, when it’s expected that contract negotiations will begin. Lundqvist is in the final year of a six-year, $41.25 million deal.
» Sather said he is planning on talking to special assistant Mark Messier “this week or the beginning of next week.” Messier made no secret of his interest in the head coaching position and had interviewed for the job.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.