There’s no denying that for the first time in a few years, the New York Rangers are locked and loaded to seriously compete this season. That being said, it will be the first campaign in the David Quinn era where there will be legitimate expectations. Therefore, the “they’re still in development” excuse will no longer fly when things go sour. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for Quinn and the 2021 New York Rangers.
David Quinn’s Pivotal 2021 New York Rangers Season
Quinn’s Tenure Thus Far
Quinn’s tenure at the helm on Broadway, and his NHL career for that matter, has amounted to a 70-65-19 record. Of course, he was hired because of his ability to groom young talent and forge relationships with millennials. Which was the vision of the organization following the infamous February 2018 letter. When management began blowing the team up, no one could blame Quinn for bad losses. For the team was in transition and there were influxes of youth and inexperience. However, the Rangers competed in the Stanley Cup Qualifier in August and secured the coveted No. 1 pick in Alexis Lafreniere. With this, the green light has flashed on this team being ready to make some noise.
For Lafreniere, 2019 No.2 overall pick Kaapo Kakko, Igor Shesterkin and the rest of the young cast, this is a vital season for progress. Quinn’s notorious response to adversity is shuffling the entire lineups as a Hail Mary attempt for a spark. This is not the season to be throwing panics and stripping ice time. Benching players for making mistakes is only shooting themselves in the foot. The talent is there but it’s the experience that is key. The last thing the 2021 New York Rangers need are these youngsters second-guessing their decisions afraid of being punished. It only hinders the growth of high potential and the Rangers need to nurture what they have.
Assessing Coaching Patterns
After the Rangers lost a disgraceful 4-0 season opener to the New York Islanders, there was next to nothing positive to note. It was interesting to see how Quinn was going to respond for the rematch. As expected, he shuffled up the forwards, defenseman and swapped goalies. Fortunately, it was a complete table turn and the Rangers were buzzing for 60 minutes to cap off a 5-0 redemption. While this approach worked in this instance, it isn’t something that is recommended every time there’s doubt. It was exciting to see Lafreniere get promoted to the second line with Artemi Panarin, however, demoting Kakko is a dangerous move for the sophomore’s confidence. He responded well by tallying a goal, but one shouldn’t be a priority over the other moving forward.
The next head-scratcher was splitting up the team’s most solid defensive pair in Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren. While Fox had a rough opening night, this was a premature change. The real defence deficiency is in Jack Johnson‘s mere admittance into Madison Square Garden. His Rangers debut was riddled with lacklustre play, which was foreseen by fans when he was signed in the offseason. Despite any of this, everyone seemed to get a shot in the arm, but the win was anchored by Georgiev’s lights-out performance. Historically, he has owned the Islanders with a 6-2 record. Quinn’s strategy may have worked in this instance, but there needs to be more faith in combinations in the long run. The team is just too young all-around to hit the eject button when there’s mild turbulence.
It’s Time to Start Delivering
Between the fans and the media, the New York market is filled with impatience and short-term memories. A player or coach can be a hero one day and a pariah the next. The city has grown restless in experiencing a process that is not familiar to the Rangers or New York sports for that matter. Now that it wields all the intangibles to a successful hockey team in the modern NHL, it’s time to start delivering.
Management has done an exceptional job providing the type of talent they set out for three years ago. They poached Quinn from Boston University with a vision of him conducting this symphony of A-level prospects. While mistakes from young players are understandable, coaching responses will be under a microscope all season long. It’s time to see what comes out in the wash for David Quinn.