The pieces are coming together for the Alain Vigneault regime in New York, as he is getting assistant coaches to help him coach the team.
We’ll start with the obvious one, it is not expected that Mike Sullivan will return to be an assistant on Vigneault’s staff as he plans to interview with the Vancouver Canucks sometime this week. If reports are true, a lot of the issues with the Rangers and the coaching staff had a lot to do with them not liking Sullivan anymore, so the Rangers did the right thing by getting rid of Sully.
Meanwhile, back in Ranger land, it was reported during the draft that Ulf Samuelsson would return to the NHL, and be an assistant under Vigneault. Reports have also stated that he’d be in control of the defense and the penalty kill, two area’s where his hockey knowledge will come into play. Samuelsson will help the defenseman play more smart positional hockey, as well as properly hitting opponents, adding a hopeful edge to their game.
Samuelsson, spent the last two years in Sweeden coaching MoDo going 38-41-18 overall during his time there. Prior to that he was an assistant with the Coyotes in the NHL as well as the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack.
Also making his way back into the NHL is Scott Arniel. Arniel, most notably coached the Columbus Blue Jackets, and had notable issues with Rangers center Derick Brassard. During his time in the NHL as a head coach Arniel went 45-60-18 in 123 games.
Arniel had great success in the AHL as the head coach of the Manitoba Moose and Chicago Wolves (both AHL affiliates of the Vancouver Canucks), going 218-136-42 in 396 games, making it to the Calder Cup playoffs 4 out of the 5 seasons he coached, and made it as far as the 2009 Calder Cup Final, losing to the Hersey Bears in 6 games.
With Benoit Allaire staying in New York as the teams goalie coach, most of the pieces have been set in regards to Vigneault’s coaching staff. He did state when hired he would like to have anywhere between 4-5 assistants, so lets see how many more Vigneault brings on, as this offseason could heat up very quickly for the Rangers.