Former Stanley Cup winning coach Dan Bylsma won’t be coaching the New York Rangers next season, but he may have a better plan for the roster moving forward than the team’s front office.
Well, any hope of Dan Bylsma coming to the Big Apple has been washed away. The former NHL head coach and 2009 Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed today with the New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis that he will not be the New York Rangers’ 35th head coach in team history.
The Rangers have yet to name a head coach since the firing of Alain Vigneault back in April (2013-2018) and New York’s fan base might be starting to sweat after Bylsma’s recent comments about the unclear direction that Broadway Blueshirts appear to be taking.
“I guess my first thought would be, what direction are the Rangers going, exactly?” Said Bylsma, per Cyrgalis.
Keep in mind that prior to the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline, Rangers management officially released a statement addressing the direction the team would be taking. It seemed clear that the team was headed into full reboot-mode after it sold off notable skaters such as Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash and Michael Grabner.
Yet, the former rival coach of the Rangers suggested that the team may not exactly be in a “rebuild mode,” after all.
“Clearly it would seem from the last couple months and the deadline that the words ‘retool’ and ‘rebuild’ have been used. Is that the direction they’re going? Or the other rumors out there we’ve heard about some players coming back and coming back to the NHL?”
Former Rangers such as Rick Nash and Michael Grabner are set to become unrestricted-free-agents (UFA) and there hasn’t been any confirmation that New York wouldn’t consider bringing them back on board come July 1.
There was also a rumor last month that the Rangers and former New Jersey Devils superstar Ilya Kovalchuk had been in talks about a short-term contract — once the Russian officially left the Kontitnental Hockey League (KHL) to return back to the NHL.
Bylsma also made a good point in relation to his skepticism on the unique direction that the Rangers are rumored to potentially take moving forward with their roster.
“I still have the question that I posed earlier,” said Bylsma to Cyrgalis. “Is this going to a long-term, or are they going to have some of these players back, more on-the-fly retool?”
From the rumors floating around about players signing such as Kovalchuk, and Nash and Grabner returning, it may be more concerning for them than it is for the Garden Faithful.
It would seem that those notable skaters mentioned above would be skating themselves straight into purgatory. If they did sign, then the Rangers lineup would just be stuck in this odd state of averageness that their rivals across the Hudson River (New Jersey Devils) once entailed for a number of years.
Bylsma was probably suggesting that the Rangers would be a playoff bubble team, but nothing more than that – so why sign players such as Kovalchuk and Nash, who would just be playing for the Rangers for, what, the sake of playing in New York on the World’s biggest stage?
Signing those players wouldn’t do either side any good, nor deliver Lord Stanley back to Broadway.
The young coach in Bylsma seems to have a better grasp on the Rangers current state than most might think, and maybe the Blueshirts should consider giving him a contract and the keys to the original plan of rebuilding and growing the Garden’s youthful hockey team.