Rangers fire Vigneault after last-place finish
The New York Rangers fired coach Alain Vigneault on Saturday night.
The announcement came after the Rangers closed out the season with a 5-0 loss to the Flyers in Philadelphia, finishing 34-39-9 and missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
New York also finished last in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points.
The Rangers said they will begin searching for his replacement immediately.
The Rangers declared in a letter to fans before the NHL trade deadline that they were “reshaping” the team, which would bring an infusion of youth and would include some trades involving veteran players. They dealt captain Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller to the Tampa Bay Lightning, forward Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins and Michael Grabner (their top goal scorer at the deadline) to the New Jersey Devils.
GM Jeff Gorton told ESPN in March that it was less a “reshape” than a “rebuild” for New York. “When you make a statement like everyone is available, you’re seeing what you can get for players and how that fits in to what you’re doing when you’re rebuilding,” he said.
As for Vigneault, Gorton said he would be re-evaluated. “AV’s a good coach. He’s a good man. He’s been a good coach here,” Gorton told ESPN in March. “I want to sit down with AV at the end of the year and figure out what’s best for him and what’s best for us, and where it goes. How he sees it, and how we see it.”
Clearly, the Rangers saw a different direction when it came to Vigneault overseeing a rebuild.
Vigneault won 226 games with the Rangers, the third most by a head coach in the team’s history. He was hired on a five-year, $10 million contract with the Rangers on June 21, 2013, and signed a two-year extension in January 2017.
He’s the first coach to be fired in the NHL this season.