New York Rangers Rumors: 3 Top Head Coaching Candidates

With Gerard Gallant moving on, the New York Rangers are on the hunt for their next head coach. The search has already begun, but president and general manager Chris Drury says the team will not be pursuing Joel Quenneville despite earlier rumors surrounding the NHL-exiled coach. 

Larry Brooks of the New York Post has learned that the Rangers have no intentions of asking for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's OK to pursue Quenneville. The former three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks was banished from the league 18 months ago in an unofficial suspension for his role behind the scenes in the Kyle Beach sexual assault incident. 

So then who are the candidates the Rangers will be considering?

“Just looking for the right fit," says Drury. "Not going to limit ourselves right now to any specific style or type of coach.” 

Let's have a look at three potential names—all coming from vastly different places.

Kris Knoblauch

The Hartford Wolf Pack head man currently has the Rangers' AHL affiliate on a spirited playoff run, and does have a handful of games of experience behind the Blueshirts' bench, with six games in 2020-21 and another two games last season.

The 44-year-old is an intriguing in-house option, who has assistant coach credits with the Philadelphia Flyers for two seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19. 

Peter Laviolette

The former Stanley Cup-winner has taken has taken three different teams to the Finals in the past. The 58-year-old is coming off a three-year stint with the Washington Capitals where he posted a .584 points percentage,  going 115-78-27.

He was also selected by Drury to coach the U.S. team in the World Championships in 2020, so the GM knows him and his coaching style well. 

Mark Messier

Anytime there's a coaching vacancy at Madison Square Garden, the name of the legendary ex-Ranger who helped break the Blueshirts' Cup Curse will be a name that surfaces. 

But he hasn't held a coaching job in the NHL, and for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, it might be a bit of a risky proposition to bring in a rookie coach. 

Other names that will likely come up include Bruce Boudreau, Mike Babcock and Jeff Blashill.