The Rangers have made their choice as coach and it's Gerard Gallant. For all the hand wringing and concern that the team would let the possible top choice on the market go elsewhere, your concerns have been alleviated. Larry Brooks was the first to report the hiring while Pierre LeBrun added it was a four-year deal, though the Rangers have yet to formally announce the hiring.
The hiring covers #2 of the top-25 off-season questions: 2) If Quinn is not back, who should take over as coach? Gerard Gallant? Mike Babcock? John Totorella (who won't return to Columbus and was mentioned by Nick Kypreos below)? Rick Tocchet? Kris Knoblauch? Other?
Gallant interviewed with GM Chris Drury before he coached Team Canada to the Gold Medal in the World Championships. Drury met with Rick Tocchet. but that is the only other confirmed interview. Several might have been in the mix, but didn't meet with Drury, The rumor is that the talks between the two heated up after Gallant returned to the US with an agreement reached today. Gallant's history has been to last three years with a team, so you can think it's mildly surprising he received a four-year deal, though maybe that's how Drury sealed the signing and shows confidence in Gallant.
My view is Drury likely felt that Rod Brind’Amour remains with the Carolina Hurricanes, which is why he make the decision now. If that doesn't happen, then Brind'Amour could end up in Seattle. As of now, with Gallant in NY and Brind'Amour likely to remain in Carolina, Rick Tocchet is the probable favorite to get the Seattle job.
For a good quick overview on Gallant, the below is from Rick Carpinello's article on May 17:
Another league source had some strong positives to say in his scouting report on Gallant, 57: “Players coach, great fundamentals/structure. Great/respectful/insightful with the media. Sticks to his guns/ philosophies,” the source said. “Reputation of stubbornness to outside influences he disagrees with. Would be a great hire for the Rangers, in my humble opinion. Very protective of his players/staff.”
The view that Gallant is a player's coach is one that he espouses as well. But he can balance that with being tough when necessary, In addition, he brings experience from an 11-year career in the league, where he scored over 30 goals four times but had the willingness to drop the gloves when necessary, which was part of the fabric of that era. In that regard, look for New York to add toughness - unsure if that means an enforcer - but toughness this off-season, as Carp noted an interview where Gallant said that Tom Wilson cost him a Stanley Cup ring, when the Capitals beat Vegas in the final in 2018.
The 57-year-old Gallant is 270-216-51 with four ties in 541 NHL games for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and Golden Knights. He was fired by Vegas on Jan. 15, 2020, after going 118-75-20 in three seasons. In addition, he is 18-15 in the playoffs, largely aided by that 2018 run to the finals.
From the NHL.com column today.on the hiring. Pretty high praise from Lightning coach Jon Cooper. A players coach but one who holds his players accountable and makes his players want to play him. Now, the next step will be to build a coaching staff around him, as only goaltending coach Benoit Allaire remains from David Quinn's regime.
"There's nothing he asks his players to do that he wouldn't have done himself," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Gallant. "He demands from his players but he delivers a message that you really want to go out there and play for him. … He's simple in his approach but extremely effective. He was awesome to have on the staff (when Cooper coached Canada at the 2017 World Championship). I remember that year, I waited for him. Ironically, he was in between jobs back then too and he ended up getting the Vegas job. There's a reason the teams he coaches win because he gets the plan, puts it in place, communicates it and then drives the guys. I loved having him on the staff."