Gerard Gallant is the Rangers’ choice as next head coach

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Gerard Gallant will be taking over as the new head coach of the Rangers, the team officially announced on Wednesday.

Gallant most recently led Canada to a gold medal at the IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia. He was last behind an NHL bench in January 2020 with the Golden Knights. Prior to his stint in Vegas, he coached the Panthers and Blue Jackets. He has a 270-216-4-51 NHL coaching record in parts of nine seasons.

The hire comes a month after the Rangers fired David Quinn, which happened days after owner James Dolan dismissed general manager Jeff Gorton and team president John Davidson.

The Rangers did not qualify for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I would like to welcome Gerard to the New York Rangers,” said owner James Dolan in a statement. “Gerard’s proven track record has made him one of the league’s most sought-after coaches, and we are fortunate to have him as part of the team. I have no doubt that he will play a critical role in helping us take the next steps to building a championship-caliber team.”

“His vast experience and success behind the bench at several levels make him the ideal choice to lead our team on the ice,” added Rangers GM Chris Drury.

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Drury said in May that he wanted a coach with NHL experience. Gallant has that, as well as a proven track record. He helped improve the Panthers 12 points and earn a division title from his first and second season there. In Vegas, he took over an expansion team and was an integral part in why the “Golden Misfits” reached the Stanley Cup Final in their first season.

Is there a shelf life, however? In all three of Gallant’s NHL stops he was fired in his third season. There will be pressure off the bat to succeed in New York given Dolan’s moves this off-season.

Gallant, the 2018 Jack Adams Award winner, is taking over a Rangers team full of youth and talent, something he had in Florida with the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov. He helped improvements with that young roster, and the expectation is the same will continue in New York.

According to Pierre LeBrun, it’s a four-year deal worth $3.5M per season. The term matches up with the franchise’s Cup expectations. Patience is not something Dolan has at this moment in time, and with Drury and Gallant installed, now is the time go to go Cup hunting.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.