Listen, I think we can all generally agree that David Quinn achieved a reasonable level of success in the college coaching ranks. In his five years as the coach of the Boston University Terriers Quinn amassed 105 wins, and steadily improved what was a fragile hockey program he took over in 2013-2014.
However, as history has taught us, a successful college coach does not translate into a successful coach in the National Hockey League. Absent the late great “Badger” Bob Johnson and Herb Brooks, how many college coaches have been able to successfully make the transition? One could even argue that as great as Herb Brooks was in the 1980 Olympics, he was not all that successful as an NHL bench boss (219 wins in 507 games).
But back to Quinn.
When Quinn was hired by the Rangers in 2018, he was touted as a coach that can work well with young players (essentially the anti Alain Vigneault). This seems like the perfect hire for the Rangers at the time, as they had made it widely known that they were rebuilding.
Quinn’s first year in NY was fine. The Rangers went 32-36-14, in a season where there were zero expectations. His second year the Rangers saw a significant improvement, leading them to a record of 37-28-5 (when the COVID stoppage hit). As we all remember, when hockey returned in July the Rangers went out with a whimper, losing three straight games to the Hurricanes without so much as challenge.
Many feel Quinn should get a lot of credit for the 2nd year improvement, but should he really? What exactly did David Quinn do to help the Rangers jump up to 2nd in the draft and select Kappo Kakko? What did he do to make Artemi Panarin select the Rangers, leaving more money on the table from other teams? The answer is nothing. And the facts are simple, if Artemi Panarin does not put up 95 points in 69 games last year, the Rangers would have been a bottom 5 team.
Let us fast forward to this year. Across the league most hockey pundits would agree that the Rangers rebuild is ahead of schedule. Besides the aforementioned Panarin and Kakko additions, the Rangers once again hit lottery luck allowing them to select projected phenom Alexis Lafreniere.
Heading into the 2021 season the enthusiasm for the Rangers is the highest it has been in years. Many feel the team has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. So why are the Rangers 6-7-3 in 6th place and out of playoff positioning? Well one could look at several factors; Mika Zibanejad is way off his pace from last year. The power play has been abysmal. The Rangers have blown leads in several games. They have had horrendous third periods. To me, this is a reflection on the coach, and the fragility of this team.
Lets also examine a few other troubling observations. For a coach that is excellent with young players, under the David Quinn regime the Rangers have alienated two former first round picks to the point neither are playing in the league right now (Lias Anderson, Tony DeAngelo). This cannot be overlooked.
So in evaluating his full body of work, who has really developed?
Adam Fox? Not so sure about this one, as Fox was an impactful player from the day he arrived.
Filip Chytil? If we want to say back-to-back 23 point seasons is progress than yes, but I don’t think it is.
Kappo Kakko? Well, if you count the last five games than we can say yes.
Julien Gauthier- no.
Libor Hajek – no (and let us not forget the Rangers had to add JT Miller into the Ryan McDonagh trade to get Hajek)
Simply stated, there is not enough sustained progress on this team; something needs to change.
David Quinn is a good college coach. His ability to coach successfully in the NHL remains to be seen, but for now, he is not the right coach for this team.
Written by: 2ForHooking