Gallant: Rangers ready to 'take a big step' toward contending
Gerard Gallant sees progress on the horizon for the New York Rangers.
Gallant was formally introduced as head coach Tuesday and said the Rangers look ready to "take a big step" toward becoming a playoff contender, according to The Associated Press' Stephen Whyno.
New York hasn't made the playoffs since 2016-17 but did qualify for the play-in round in last year's bubble as an 11-seed. The Rangers finished the 2020-21 campaign 16th in the league standings with 60 points but placed outside the postseason cutline in a deep East Division.
The club cleaned house when the regular season concluded, as ownership was unimpressed with the team's direction. Head coach David Quinn, general manager Jeff Gorton, and president John Davidson were all let go.
Despite the changes, the Rangers are widely believed to be on the upswing. Over the past two seasons, New York ranks eighth in the NHL with 409 goals, and its star-powered core of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and Igor Shesterkin is one of the league's best. The Blueshirts also boast one of the NHL's top prospect systems.
With several key pieces already in place, Gallant says the team's first order of business is forming an identity.
"I want to be the hardest-working team in the league - to work hard, to battle hard, to make other teams say, 'That team works hard every night,'" he said.
Gallant holds a 270-216-4-51 record as an NHL head coach. He most recently spent two-plus seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights.