Sources around the league have indicated that the New York Rangers have agreed in principle to name former Canucks Alain Vigneault as the 34th head coach in team history. While terms of the agreement have yet to be disclosed, the team is expected to formally introduce Vigneault within the next few days as league protocol has it to not upstage the Cup Finals with team news.
Vigneault, who won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 2007, led Vancouver to the Presidents’ Trophy in 2010-11 and 2011-12 was clearly the best candidate available on the market even with fan favorite Mark Messier still on the market. A clear departure from the puck control, shot blocking style favored by ex-coach John Tortorella, Vigneault will bring an offense freedom to the team to take better advantage of the offensive firepower in stars Rick Nash, Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin following breakout seasons from both Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard.
While who exactly will be the assistants for Vigneault have yet to be determined, it’ not known if Messier will join the staff or continue his role in the front office. The Blueshirts have also expressed interest in former Ranger Ulf Samuelsson, who served as an assistant for five years with the Coyotes after a one-year apprenticeship in that position with the AHL Wolf Pack.