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Islanders rivals New York Rangers take big step with Gallant hiring

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 20: Head coach Gerard Gallant of the Vegas Golden Knights poses with the Jack Adams Award given to the top head coach in the press room at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 20: Head coach Gerard Gallant of the Vegas Golden Knights poses with the Jack Adams Award given to the top head coach in the press room at the 2018 NHL Awards presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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I know we’re laser-focused on the New York Islanders playoff run. But the rest of the league isn’t just sitting around and waiting for the playoffs to end before they make moves to prepare for the 2021-22 season.

The New York Rangers for example hired a coach today. Just over a month ago, the Rangers removed David Quinn from behind the bench. In three seasons with the Rangers, Quinn put up a 96-87-25 record. He didn’t make the playoffs once in his tenure.

Now the Rangers hired veteran NHL coach Gerard Gallant to take over behind the bench where he’ll be tasked with pushing this squad to the postseason. And that’s a big, and worrying, step for the New York Islanders.

New York Islanders rivals make a big hire behind the bench

Gallant is a solid hire by the Rangers who are desperate to take the next step in their rebuild that began three years ago.

Since sending out that letter to fans in February of 2018, the Rangers have taken steps from the basement to be a competitive team in the NHL.

  • They’ve made six picks in the first round including three top ten picks (two were first and second overall in back-to-back years).
  • They traded for top-pair defenseman Jacob Trouba.
  • They acquired Artemiy Panarin through free agency.

Add top-line center Mika Zibanejab, Norris finalist Adam Fox, a budding star goalie in Igor Shesterkin, and the Rangers have everything they need to be competitive. Except for that one position that can gel all of these elements together to make a cohesive and effective unit; a head coach.

As New York Islanders fans we know the difference a good coach makes. For years, the Islanders brought in budget options to call the shots behind the bench. And they got budget results for it. Getting Barry Trotz turned that all around.

Now, with recent Jack Adams winner Gallant, the Rangers have that proven NHL coach who can take all that talent and put out a competitive product.

In nine years between the Blue Jackets, Panthers, and Golden Knights, Gallant holds a 270-216-4-51 record. He’s been to the playoffs in three (technically four) of those seasons. This is a good hire for the RAngers who are looking for that last piece of the puzzle towards relevancy.

The Islanders division was already stacked with playoff teams, now one of the teams on the outside looking in just got significantly better. This division just won’t stop adding quality.

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