Last month, the General Manager of the New York Rangers decided to replace Alain Vigneault, their Canadian-born Head Coach. He had enjoyed a comparatively successful five-year record. During management reshuffling, the team also lost other key personnel, including Assistant Coach Darryl Williams and Associate Coach Scott Arniel. The shakeup has placed additional pressure on the acclaimed hockey team to develop a strong lineup on its roster as it prepares for the future.
The Challenges of Uncertainty
The decision to change coaches reportedly occurred very quickly in the wake of the failure of the New York Rangers to reach the team’s playoff target. Today professional sports teams frequently hire and fire coaching personnel with impunity. Yet this practice does sometimes impose heavy demands on organizations seeking to develop team rosters during coaching transitions.
General Manager Jeff Gorton acknowledged the contributions Coach Vigneault had made to the Rangers, noting that he would surely continue to enjoy a successful hockey coaching career. He expressed the decision to search for a new head coach as a need to embrace change on the part of the New York Rangers. The personnel restructuring occurred as Alain Vigneault’s initial multi-million dollar five year coaching contract would have drawn to a close. (It was reportedly extended during 2017).
Cultivating a Strong Hockey Team
The New York Rangers have won the Stanley Cup on four previous occasions: 1928, 1933, 1940, and 1994. They would undoubtedly appreciate the opportunity to reprise those victories. Future management decisions will impact the team as it continues to build its roster.
The team’s current roster includes some young star players with strong defense capabilities recruited comparatively recently. They include John Gilmour (who signed with the Rangers in 2016), Rob O’Gara (traded by the Boston Bruins in 2018), and Neal Pionk (reportedly signed as a free agent in 2017). The selection of a new Head Coach may factor significantly in the team’s future development plans.