NHL rumors: Who could Rangers next head coach be?

The New York Rangers didn’t wait long to relieve head coach Alain Vigneault of his duties, firing him hours after their final game of the regular season on Saturday. 

A franchise that just saw its streak of seven-straight years of postseason hockey end, the Blueshirts are suddenly rebuilding and now add a new leading man to its list of objectives this offseason. 

While there will likely be more added to the list as the offseason continues, the Rangers already have a number of candidates to look at who already have NHL head-coaching experience. 

Here is an early look at who they may consider. 

Lindy Ruff

Ruff was brought on as a Rangers assistant coach under Vigneault this season, the first time in 20 years that he wasn’t a head coach of an NHL franchise. His presence immediately raised suspicion that he would be Vigneault’s successor should he not make it through the year and he will likely receive plenty of consideration for the job moving forward.

The 58-year-old Ruff received his first NHL head-coaching gig in 1997 with the Buffalo Sabres and would spend the next 15 seasons at the position. He would make the playoffs eight times, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year and Stanely Cup Final in his second. He would join the Dallas Stars in 2013 and made the postseason twice, including a 109-point 2015-16 campaign before being fired the following year. 


Michel Therrien

Therrien spent this season working as a scout with the Montreal Canadiens, a team he has coached on two separate occasions since the start of the new millennium. So he’s no stranger to working in a pressure-filled environment.

He had a three-year stint with the Canadiens from 2000-2003, making the playoffs just once before taking over the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005. He made the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 with Sidney Crosby and Co. but fell to the Detroit Red Wings in six games. Therrien coached 57 games the following season before he was fired, making way for Dan Bylsma, who steered Pittsburgh to a championship the very same year. 

Montreal came calling again, hiring him as head coach in 2012 where he would stay for the next five seasons. He made the playoffs in each of his first three years, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014, but a postseason-less 2015-16 led to his firing the following year despite collecting 70 points in 58 games. 


Dan Bylsma

Therrien’s replacement in Pittsburgh, Bylsma was never able to recreate the success he had in his first season with the Penguins, though he managed to stay on for six years. 

He would make the postseason on each of those occasions but never made it back to the Stanley Cup Final as he was fired after the 2013-14 season. 

Bylsma would receive a job as head coach of the Sabres in 2015, however, he was unable to help the rebuilding franchise move forward, missing the playoffs in each of his two seasons before he was fired. 

He is currently an analyst on NHL Network.


Jack Capuano

This would be a move that would make Rangers fans’ stomachs turn considering Capuano coached the rival New York Islanders for seven seasons spanning from 2010-2017. 

And while he had his fair share of critics on Long Island, the 51-year-old was one of the best coaches in franchise history, ranking second in games coached, wins and postseason wins only behind the legendary Al Arbour. 

Capuano helped the Islanders win their first playoff series in 23 years two seasons ago, a first-round win over the Florida Panthers ending a drought that began in 1993. 

He currently serves as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers. 

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