Alain Vigneault is the next head coach of the New York Rangers, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN, and fans can expect big changes. The 52-year-old coach previously stood behind the bench for the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks, and in New York, Vigneault will look to lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup.
Beat writer Andrew Gross tweeted that the Rangers haven't confirmed it yet, but there is a deal in principle for Vigneault to join the team.
The 2013-14 season will be the 20th anniversary of the Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup season, and fans hope that this will be the year that the Stanley Cup returns to Madison Square Garden. With Vigneault behind the bench, there are bound to be some changes, and here are the biggest ones that will take effect very soon.
1. Power-Play Philosophy
John Tortorella was upfront about not coaching the power play, and that will change under Vigneault. Whether it is run by Vigneault directly or through an assistant he hires, the Rangers' power-play philosophy will change.
During Vigneault's time with the Canucks, the team had a lethal power play. The Rangers have numerous weapons that should thrive on the power play, and under Vigneault, they will be utilized properly.
|Year||Power-play Efficiency||NHL Rank|
The Rangers' power play will have no excuses if it doesn't execute next season, but there is reason to believe that it will improve under Vigneault. His style of attack should translate to success on the power play, and that is something the Rangers sorely need.
2. Defensemen Joining The Rush
One of the Rangers' biggest strengths is the mobility of their blue line. John Moore, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto are extraordinary skaters who have offensive instincts, and under Vigneault, they will join the rush more often.
John Tortorella tried to integrate the Rangers defense into offensive attacks, but he was never consistent with that approach. Vigneault would often use Alexander Edler as an attacker while coaching the Canucks, and with the Rangers he will utilize the team's mobile defensemen.
The Rangers have a young blue line with immense talent. If McDonagh, Moore and Del Zotto are given more free reign to play an offensive game, the team's offense as a whole can improve.
3. The Roster
The biggest change under Vigneault will be the roster. The current roster features players such as Brian Boyle, Taylor Pyatt and Ryane Clowe, who are big forwards who play a gritty game. While Vigneault likes having those players as complimentary forwards, he is a coach who likes to attack.
He had the Sedins and Ryan Kesler in Vancouver and in New York, he has Rick Nash. For Vigneault to make the most of his time with the Rangers, he is going to need more skill in his lineup. Don't be surprised if GM Glen Sather makes some bold moves this summer.
This isn't going to be a team that blocks a ton of shots or plays primarily two-way hockey, and there could be some balance-related changes to their roster. Before adding Rick Nash, the team needed more skill; as a result of adding him, they sacrificed depth.
Now the team needs to balance out the roster, and Vigneault will likely have some input on how the roster is built.
Right now, Vigneault has just been hired and there is bound to be a ton of speculation on what could happen during his time in New York. The above changes are not guaranteed, but there is a good chance they will happen.
Based on Vigneault's history and experience, he is a great fit to coach the Rangers. Now that the Rangers have a head coach, it will be interesting to see what direction the team goes in this summer.
The Rangers are not that far off from contending for a Stanley Cup, and maybe a coaching change will prove to be what the team needed to become successful.