Joel Quenneville has a new gig with the Florida Panthers and that news would have pricked the ears of everybody connected with the New York Rangers.
The former Chicago Blackhawks head coach, who won three Stanley Cups with that franchise, was announced as the new head coach of the Panthers this morning just days after the New York Rangers and the rest of the NHL concluded the regular season.
Quenneville was handed a five-year deal worth in the region of $30 million depending on bonuses, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.
It is no doubt a huge hire for Florida who sacked Bob Boughner on Sunday after missing the postseason for the second consecutive year, going 79-62-22 within that period.
Having Quenneville behind the bench will make the Panthers relevant in the NHL again, with the 60-year-old one of the most successful head coaches in the game.
With over 20 years of NHL head coaching experience with the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and the Blackhawks under his belt, Quenneville’s 890 regular season wins are the second most in NHL history.
He also boasts a 118-97 record in the postseason and is one of only 11 head coaches in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup three times. Quenneville is also the only NHL head coach to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup three times in the salary cap era.
But what has all of this got to do with the New York Rangers?
It’s simple. Artemi Panarin.
The Columbus Blue Jackets’ magician is set to become the crown jewel of NHL free agency in the summer and it is believed that the Big Apple is on the top of the Russian’s wish list for potential landing spots.
It would make sense, after all.
Panarin is a big time player built for the big moments and what better place for the left-wing to truly thrive than under the bright lights of Broadway?
New York is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, after all, to quote a famous Jay Z and Alicia Keys song.
The Rangers would also truly benefit from having such an elite talent on their roster, a superstar that really would put this rebuild into turbocharge.
Currently preparing for the playoffs with the Blue Jackets, who could well blow it all up if they are dealt yet another first round exit, Panarin enjoyed a stellar regular season having put up 28 goals and 59 assists for 87 points, including 18 points on the power play.
Panarin has amassed 320 points (116 goals, 204 assists) in 322 games in his four-year NHL career, so there will no doubt be a queue of teams lining up for his signature come July, 1.