Rangers Committed to Youth Movement With Quinn Hiring

By Matthew Blittner
Special Contributor to MSGNetworks.com

From a historical viewpoint, the Rangers‘ hiring of David Quinn represents only the second time in franchise history the team has hired a head coach from the collegiate ranks.

The first was Herb Brooks, who took the helm at the start of the 1981-82 season after coaching the U.S. Olympic Team in 1979-80 followed by a year in Switzerland, and lasted until the middle of the 1984-85 campaign.

Learn the important facts about the New York Rangers new head coach David Quinn.

Per the Rangers’ PR Department, GM Jeff Gorton released the following statement about the club’s 35th head coach:

“We are excited to announce that David will become the next Head Coach of the New York Rangers,” Gorton said. “In a coaching career that has spanned over two decades at the collegiate, pro, and international level, David has helped his teams achieve success while simultaneously teaching the game and helping his players develop on and off the ice. He is the ideal choice to bring our loyal and passionate fans the winning hockey they deserve.”

No freshman in the coaching business, 51-year-old Quinn has a sparkling resume and is exactly the type of “fresh face” the franchise desires.

[Watch David Quinn’s Introductory Press Conference Thursday at 11:30 AM on MSG and MSG GO]

BOSTON – OCTOBER 9: Boston University ice hockey head coach David Quinn. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Among his many qualifications are Quinn’s tenures as the head coach of AHL Lake Erie (three years), assistant coach of the Colorado Avalanche (one year) and the last five years as head coach for the B.U. Terriers.

In addition, he spent time on the coaching staff for the U.S. National Development League.

By accepting the position as Blueshirts’ head coach, Quinn joins an exclusive list of coaches to jump from the college ranks to behind the bench for an NHL team.

The first five were: Ned Harkness, Brooks, Bob Johnson, Dave Hakstol and Jim Montgomery. (Montgomery beat Quinn to the punch by a few weeks after being hired by the Dallas Stars.)

“With our youth, the new coach should probably be a hands-on guy,” said Gorton at his end of season press conference in April. “We have a lot of young guys on the team.”

Jeff Gorton explains the reason why the team parted way with coach Alain Vigneault and how he's approaching the search for the new coach.

By contrast, Quinn’s predecessor, Alain Vigneault was notorious for being less than favorable to the youth movement. And the No. 1 example of that is the emergence of J.T. Miller as a top-line forward with Tampa Bay.

During Quinn’s tenure with the Terriers, he led his team to the 2014-15 National Title Game; developing numerous young players — Jack Eichel and Charlie McAvoy to name two — along the way.

In a clip from "Beginnings," the Sabres' Jack Eichel explains how David Quinn had an impact on him at Boston University, while Quinn shares a story about a time Eichel was less than attentive in a team meeting.

Quinn’s first Training Camp as an NHL head coach will feature numerous players with NCAA backgrounds competing for a limited number of roster spots.

Neal Pionk (UMD), Brendan Smith (Wisconsin), Kevin Shattenkirk (B.U.), Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), Steven Kampfer (Michigan), Boo Nieves (Michigan), Rob O’Gara (Yale), John Gilmour (Providence), Vinni Lettieri (Minnesota), Ryan Lindgren (Minnesota), Chris Kreider (B.C.), Kevin Hayes (B.C.) and Brady Skjei (Minnesota) have all graduated from the NCAA ranks. But they’ll need to adopt a collegiate mentality if they’re going to succeed under Quinn.

Unlike the laid-back Vigneault, Quinn has a fiery — yet controlled — temperament. And he’s not afraid to let you know it either.

He’ll be a breath of fresh air to a Blueshirts’ organization looking to change its style of play.

As Gabrielle Riggi — an Arena Reporter for United States College Hockey Online — describes it:

“Unlike other college-to-NHL coaches (i.e. Hakstol and Montgomery), Quinn isn’t a strict systems coach. His style is high intensity on both ends of the puck but will never make defensive players sacrifice an opportunity to jump into the rush. The same goes for forwards, who need to match their offensive creativity with smart backchecking. They want to get the first stride on the opposition and have them chasing for the rest of the night.

“His Boston University teams succeeded by having every player contributing. It doesn’t necessarily reflect on having depth of scoring, but if you’re on the ice, you’re doing something in the play — even if that’s throwing a hit, squaring up for a block or putting in a good stick-check to deflect play away from the net. Tenacity is the name of a David Quinn game.”

And don’t be surprised if Quinn replicates his collegiate success at the NHL-level; especially sooner rather than later.

[Watch David Quinn’s Introductory Press Conference Thursday at 11:30 AM on MSG and MSG GO]