Indications that Gallant is the front runner

As the New York Rangers embark on a hunt for a new coach, the smart money is on Gerard Gallant.  It was revealed that Gallant interviewed for the job last week with Chris Drury and the priority placed on getting that interview done could be revealing.

Gallant stopped off in New York on the way to coach Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships, taking place in Riga, Latvia.  Interestingly, Chris Drury is the general manager of Team USA, but will not be going to Riga for the tournament as his duties with the Rangers are a priority.

The tournament runs from May 21 to June 6 so with Gallant in Latvia, Drury wouldn’t have been able to talk to him for over three weeks. Knowing Drury, he will take his time making this decision and there is no reason why he has to decide before the second week of June.

By getting the interview with Gallant done right away, it certainly puts him at the top of the and sends a message to him that he is a priority.  If that wasn’t the case, Drury could have put off the interview until Gallant came back from Europe.

How did it go?  Social media reports are that it went well, but that’s easy to say at this point.

The Gallant interview was no secret because the Rangers had to get permission to speak to him as he is still getting paid by the Vegas Golden Knights.  Some of the other candidates whose names have been mentioned don’t have those constraints.

The names that have been bandied about include Bob Hartley, Claude Julien, Bruce Boudreau, Rick Tocchet and Patrick Roy while John Tortorella has been mentioned as  a non-starter.  Of that group, other than Torts, only Hartley and Julien have won Stanley Cups while Gallant did get to the Final with Vegas.

One issue for Drury is that the Rangers are one of four teams in search of a new coach along with Arizona, Columbus and Seattle.  There’s no question that the Rangers have the best upside of any team in the hunt for a new leader.

We are learning a bit more about Chris Drury and how he operates.  Brian Leetch quit his job as an advisor to the Rangers’ hockey operations and the new GM wasted no time in appointing Mike Grier to replace him.  Grier was a teammate of Drury’s at Boston University and with the Buffalo Sabres and is very well regarded around the NHL.

It’s clear that Drury has his own circle of influence and that could be a concern for some holdovers such as Gordie Clark and his team of amateur scouts.  Then again, Clark, listed as the Pro Scout & Advisor, Amateur Scouting on the team’s website, was hired by Glen Sather who evidently still wields “some” influence with the organization.