4/7/18 | 11:19PM: : The Rangers fired head coach Alain Vigneault after Saturday night's season finale against the Flyers.
The Rangers finished with a 34-39-9 mark and missed the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season.
In 2013 he reportedly chose the Rangers over Dallas because in his mind the Rangers were closer to getting back to the Stanley Cup.
Vigneault's future had been speculated about since the Rangers announced their rebuild.
Vigneault, who led the team to the Stanley Cup in 2014, finished with a 226-147-37 record in five seasons as head coach.
Adam Rotter: I had felt that it was really 50/50 on whether Vigneault would stay and while I'm not surprised the Rangers have decided to move on, the late Saturday night announcement was a little strange. It will be denied when asked, but I would think that Vigneault's post game comments played a role in the timing. This was a planned and calculated statement on Vigneault's part and while the big takeaway from most was the defense of his record and time, the biggest thing I kept taking away was him saying he could only coach the players he had. That, to me, seemed like it was more of an announcement around the league that the struggles the Rangers faced this season weren't "his" fault but instead part of the Rangers decision to sell and go young.
Overall, Alain Vigneault had a very successful run as head coach of the Rangers. Stanley Cup Finals, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals tied going into the third period, Presidents Trophy, Division champs and playoffs every year but this one. He was the right coach at the right time and while I while I was a fan and big supporter, there were flaws in his style/game that never seemed to be fixed. The Rangers were a team built around being fast, moving the puck quickly and scoring off the rush. At times it worked really well and at others the Rangers could be seen turning pucks over all over the ice, missing the net off the rush and not generating a lot of sustained pressure. Defensively things would ebb and flow but three different defensive coaches in three straight seasons ultimately has to reflect on him. The thought was always that defense would lead to offense but wide open players and turnovers in the defensive zone made that difficult. Still, mostly because of Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Talbot, Antti Raanta and some flashes from Pavelec and Georgiev, the Rangers were able to overcome a lot of those issues and win.
While being let go is never ideal, I think Vigneault may be relieved to some degree. He still has a contract, so he will get paid, and he will likely only be unemployed as long as he wants to be. My guess is that Vigneault ends up coaching a playoff team and entering a situation similar to the one he had when he joined the Rangers. He wants to contend for a Stanley Cup and the Rangers are not in that space right now.
Was it time for a change? I felt that John Tortorella deserved another season, a full season with a real training camp, but he didn't get that. With Vigneault, as much as I liked him as a coach, the Rangers made drastic changes to the players on the ice and it's probably right for someone new to come in and work with the new group moving forward.
So what is next for the Rangers? They will likely cast a big net including currently unemployed head coaches, Dave Tippett, Darryl Sutter & Dan Bylsma, coaches who could possibly be let go: Bill Peters, Todd McLellan, current assistants: Scott Arniel and Lindy Ruff, and a cast of others including Jim Montgomery of Denver, Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Marlies and many others. Joel Quenneville would have been my top choice but he is staying in Chicago. The first question the Rangers had to answer was whether Alain Vigneault be the head coach moving forward. Now that we have the answer to that, the next question is who will be the next person to lead the Rangers from behind the bench.