Put together this list without doing a lot of checking around. And since nobody ever knows what’s going on in Glen Sather’s world, I won’t even pretend to have a clue about who’s next.
Lindy Ruff: The most obvious choice, has been available since being fired in February after 16 seasons coaching the Buffalo Sabres. A former Rangers defenseman, who had another former Ranger, James Patrick, as an assistant, Ruff is known as a players coach.
Alain Vigneault: Just fired by Vancouver after going 313-170-57 with two Presidents’ Trophies (including the one in which the Canucks nipped the Rangers last season) and one trip to the Stanley Cup finals in seven years. But he had a lot more skill in Vancouver than he’d have here. Vigneault was said to be on the Rangers’ radar, though not officially interviewed, when Bryan Trottier was hired in 2002.
Paul Maurice: The former Hartford/Carolina coach has been out of work since November, 2011. All-around good guy (and close friend of Rangers exec Adam Graves).
Dave Tippett: His name has been mentioned, even though he is currently employed by Phoenix as the Coyotes continue to go through ownership issues. But GM Don Maloney is getting a new extension, so Tippett probably stays. Anyway, he was interested in the job when Trottier was hired and didn’t get it.
Mike Keenan: The Rangers’ only Cup-winning coach in the last 73 years – who negotiated with two other teams during that title run and bolted immediately after winning it — he also wanted the job when Trottier got it. But he just signed to coach in the KHL. Anyway, he’s more demanding than Tortorella, and not as patient with kids or mistakes. Would butt heads with Sather.
Marc Crawford: An up-tempo coach, he was hired by Joe Nieuwendyk to replace Tippett in Dallas in 2009 and lasted two seasons. Won a Stanley Cup coaching Colorado in 1996.
Mark Messier: The wildest wild card in the bunch. He’s Sather’s special assistant now, but not generally seen as Sather’s heir (Jeff Gorton is). He was interested in coaching the Oilers recently. Not sure he wants to do the full-time coaching grind, and no way of knowing if he’d be good at it. Most great players aren’t.
Ken Gernander: Praised year in and year out by the organization for developing their prospects and minor leaguers as the coach of the Whale in Hartford. Probably not nearly high-profile enough for this job at this time.