One of the biggest headlines during the New York Rangers off-season was the hiring of former Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault to be the new head coach in New York. Vigneault, who brought the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins, has never had a losing season as head coach in Vancouver. Also to be noted, Vigneault brought in former Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel to be the associate coach of the team, former blueshirt Ulf Samuelsson as an assistant, and 1994 Stanley cup champion Daniel Lacroix to be Vigneault’s “eye in the sky” on all things rangers.
Having Vigneault as head coach will be a huge change for the rangers. Vigneault’s style of coaching manages a game that knows how to play defense, but unlike former coach John Tortorella’s system, also promotes an offensive side to the game. Notably, Vigneault’s game will save Brad Richards’, whose career seemed to plummet almost overnight last season. This new style will also help Derek Stepan have a full breakout season, and Rick Nash get accustomed to New York in his first full season in the big apple. Also to note, since Vigneault’s style can be offensive, the puck will most likely spend less time in the Rangers’ defensive zone, and will put less of a burden on Henrik Lundqvist (not that he can’t handle it.) Last thing to note about Vigneault, in 2011 the Vancouver Canucks lost in game 7 of the Stanley cup final at home, so if anyone has the drive to win a cup, its Alain Vigneault.
Now lets talk about Vigneault’s chosen assistants, his associate coach, or second in command Scott Arniel is the former head coach of Columbus Blue Jackets. There are a few things to note when it comes to Arniel, he never had a winning season in Columbus and had major issues with Rick Nash and Derick Brassard in their time there. Don’t be too alarmed, when it was announced that Arniel was on his way to New York Brassard reached out to his former coach immediately and amended whatever issues needed to be amended, both have said they are excited to be in New York and happy to put their best foot in going forward. Coach Arniel will be in charge of the forwards and the power play for this season.
The next coach to discuss is former blueshirt Ulf Samuelsson. A defensemen during his career, Samuelsson accquired 333 points and spent the years 1995-1998/99 with the rangers (he was traded to Detroit during the 98/99 season). One of the more positive things about having Samuelsson on the bench is the fact that he was once a ranger, so he’s already got the blueshirt pride in him. An associate coach for five years in Phoenix, Samuelsson will be in charge of the defense and penalty kill this season. The final coach, another former blueshirt Daniel Lacroix should be the most… emotional addition to the rangers coaching staff. For those who need a refresher, Daniel Lacroix was on the Rangers 1994 Stanley cup champion team. He was an assistant coach with the New York Islanders for 3 seasons, and again with the Tampa Bay Lightning for another 3 seasons. Meant to be Alain Vigneault’s “eye in the sky”, does that mean he gets to sit on those stupid sky bridges?