Penguins' Mike Sullivan Says He's Not a Candidate for Rangers HC Job, Cites Contract

Erin WalshMay 17, 2023

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 10:  Head coach Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on against the Vancouver Canucks at PPG PAINTS Arena on January 10, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

The New York Rangers are in the market for a new head coach this summer after firing Gerard Gallant following a first-round exit in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs earlier this month.

However, it appears one potential candidate's name can be crossed off the list in Pittsburgh Penguins bench boss Mike Sullivan, who told Mollie Walker of the New York Post that he is all-in on staying with the Black and Gold.

"No, I am under contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, here for the long haul," Sullivan said over the phone.

The Rangers announced May 6 that they had "mutually" agreed to part ways with Gallant after the Blueshirts blew a 2-0 series lead to the New Jersey Devils before being eliminated from title contention with a 4-0 loss in Game 7.

Gallant was hired as head coach of the Rangers ahead of the 2021-22 season, replacing David Quinn.

During Gallant's two seasons at the helm, New York went 99-46-19. In addition to reaching the playoffs this year, the Rangers made it to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning. It marked the team's deepest postseason run since the 2014-15 campaign.

Sullivan had been mentioned as a potential head coaching candidate for the Rangers given his deep ties to the organization. New York selected the Massachusetts native in the fourth round of the 1987 NHL draft, though he never appeared in a game for the franchise. He also served as an assistant for the Rangers from 2009-2013.

The 55-year-old served as head coach of his hometown Boston Bruins from 2003-2006. He was also an assistant for the Lightning and Vancouver Canucks before being hired by the Penguins as head coach of their American Hockey League affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in June 2015.

Sullivan was promoted to head coach of the Penguins in December 2015. He has guided the franchise to a 337-187-65 record, seven playoff appearances and two Stanley Cup titles in his eight seasons.

Sullivan's status as head coach of the Penguins was put into question after the franchise finished the 2022-23 season with a 40-31-11 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

It was made clear that Sullivan would remain head coach of the Penguins in 2023-24 after the franchise announced in April that general manager Ron Hextall, assistant general manager Chris Pryor and president of hockey operations Brian Burke had been relieved of their duties.

John Henry and Tom Werner of Fenway Sports Group said in a statement at the time that Sullivan would "assist during the transition."

Sullivan is under contract with the Penguins through the 2026-27 season. He signed a three-year extension with the franchise in August.