It’s been an excellent start to the season for the New York Rangers, but adversity has been something that has plagued the organization recently. With the recent news of AHL affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack’s head coach Kris Knoblauch being lost to the Edmonton Oilers, the Rangers organization must overcome the struggle of losing its bench boss.
Knoblauch was appointed head coach of the Wolf Pack on July 29th, 2019. Under his guidance, he has helped get the best out of talents like Will Cuylle, Filip Chytil, and Braden Schneider. He helped guide the Wolf Pack back to the Calder Cup playoffs last season, as they won a round before being eliminated. He’s shown himself as a competent coach and will get a shot at a head coaching role for the first time in the NHL.
After the Edmonton Oilers fired head coach Jay Woodcroft, Knoblauch was deemed the organization’s best option. It shows how well the Rangers had been at finding the best person to guide their young talents into the NHL over recent seasons. He will leave some tough shoes to fill behind the bench in Hartford, but the organization will need to find someone to do that job for the foreseeable future.
Steve Smith, the long-time Edmonton Oiler, will ironically take over the role on an interim basis. We will see if he gets the job full-time in the future. Hartford currently sits seventh overall in the AHL standings and second in their division, behind only the Hershey Bears, the reigning Calder Cup Champions.
Many fans wanted Kris Knoblauch to replace Gerard Gallant when he was fired at the end of last season, but the organization went with Peter Laviolette. This has proven to be an excellent decision to this point. However, this shows how highly those who watched the Wolf Pack think of Knoblauch and how he handles his coaching duties.