Rangers Embrace Rebuild With Quinn

David Quinn might hail from Rhode Island but the freshly announced New York Rangers head coach came across as a genuine New Yorker on Thursday, talking real and at times tough.

Quinn spoke about the wonderful opportunity he has with the Rangers while never shying away from the term rebuild, which was sprinkled throughout his introductory press conference.

After seven straight playoff appearances, the Rangers failed to make the postseason this year and finished with just 34 wins and 77 points, a steep decline from their form over the past few seasons. Quinn comes to this organization after five years at Boston University, where he made the NCAA Tournament four times.

[Watch: Get to Know David Quinn]

He is touted as having an eye for talent, an ear for the players and the ability to help grow and mature young players. Given that the Rangers are a young team, Quinn’s skillset will be counted on to turn this franchise back into a winner.

He comes with NHL experience, a former first round pick of the Minnesota North Stars in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft who found true success as a coach, including one year as an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche before going to Boston University. Quinn admitted on Thursday that he’s received other calls from NHL teams in the past few years while he coached in college but this one excited him – “When it’s the New York Rangers, it’s a little bit different.”

[Watch All the Interviews from Thursday’s Press Conference]

This, even as he acknowledged that the Rangers are in a rebuild. Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton acknowledged that the team is in fact rebuilding and said that Quinn is the right man to lead the team at this moment.

[Watch Gorton Discusses State of Rangers]

“I think it is pretty well documented that our team, we had a good run for a long time and we discussed that we got to a certain point where our franchise needed a change and to go in a different direction. So obviously a number of trades we made and transactions that led to where we are now,” Gorton said.

“It’s an exciting time. When you go through something like that, it is an eye-opening experience. It’s a hard experience but at the same time, it is really exciting as we look forward to seeing some of our young players coming. We have a lot of really good players on our team still too. We’re adding a coach obviously, we think a lot of to lead us in the future.”

The decision to leave Boston University wasn’t easy, with Quinn noting that he felt “there was some unfinished business” left at the school. But, during and after the interview process, Quinn recalls being struck by the synergy of his mentality with how the Rangers presented themselves throughout the process.

He saw a similar mindset in how the Rangers wanted to engage in this rebuild with his own philosophy.

[Valiquette on Why Quinn is the Right Fit]

Coming off being a college coach and transitioning to the NHL won’t be a huge challenge for Quinn as he did spend time in the league before as an assistant coach. As he takes over a young team in the midst of some drastic changes and a bit of an overhaul, he will be helped by this experience.

He has a reputation of developing young players, a positive given the Rangers depth of talent in their minor league system. But he also has been an assistant coach at this level, something that clearly will help Quinn manage veterans on the team and the free agents that will be needed to get this team back into the playoffs.