The New York Rangers named David Quinn as the 35th head coach in the franchise’s storied history. Quinn will leave Boston University’s ice hockey program behind after spending five years at its helm.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 23, 2018
The Cranston, Rhode Island native is a natural fit for the Rangers, who have a plethora of young players looking to develop as the team’s rebuild continues next season. Beyond that, however, he stands a chance of making his stay in the Big Apple a long one. Quinn is a proven winner and he will try to continue that tradition with the Rangers.
Quinn’s Winning Ways
Quinn had big shoes to fill upon taking the coaching position at Boston University. He replaced the legendary Jack Parker, who took charge of the team for 40 years. In fact, the Rangers’ new head coach played under Parker during his collegiate career as an athlete.
Prior to earning his way to the Terriers’ helm, the BU alum was an assistant coach for the university, helping usher the team to a national championship in 2009. In 2012 he was named the assistant coach of the Colorado Avalanche before taking the head coaching job at his former university upon Parker’s exit the following year.
Quinn’s first season as head coach of the Terriers was underwhelming, to say the least. The team finished with a 10-21-4 overall record—not the best first impression. But he bounced back, accumulating over 20 wins in each of his remaining four collegiate campaigns. The coach’s overall NCAA record rests at 105-68-21, including 95-47-17 in his last four seasons.
During the 2014-15 season, the Terriers took home the Hockey East regular-season title and won the Hockey East tournament en route to a Frozen Four appearance. They fell to Providence College in the national championship game, dubbing Boston University the second-best team in the nation. The team went 28-8-5 that season—Quinn’s best as BU’s head coach.
That same year, All-Star forward Jack Eichel took home the 2015 Hobey Baker Award as the most valuable player in college hockey. Another player from the Terriers’ 2014-15 squad, Matt Grzelcyk, currently plays in the NHL with the Boston Bruins. Both players only improved under Quinn’s watch.
The 2015-16 season ended with an NCAA Tournament appearance for Boston University, which sported a 21-13-5 record. Quinn found himself in command of two more Bruins: Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and star-in-the-making Charlie McAvoy.
The following year, Quinn once again led the Terriers to a Hockey East regular-season title and an NCAA Tournament appearance. The campaign included an eight-game winning streak, toppling opponents such as Yale, the University of Maine, and rival Boston College. The next great Arizona Coyotes forward, Clayton Keller, led the team in scoring with 45 points. Jake Oettinger, the Dallas Stars’ first-round pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, led BU to 21 of its 24 wins.
This past season ended in another NCAA Tournament appearance for BU. Brady Tkachuk, who is projected to be selected early in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, had a solid freshman year under Quinn with a total of 31 points. Some have suggested that the former Boston University coach may persuade the Rangers to select the prospect, though that may require them to move up in the draft.
Quinn’s Role With Rangers
It is obvious that Quinn fits the Rangers’ model, as the organization is currently in the midst of a rebuild. The new coach has a history of developing younger players. One of Quinn’s most impressive feats was establishing the University of Nebraska Omaha as a Division I Hockey team, serving as an assistant coach in the program’s early stages. After holding the fort for six years, the coach moved on to working with the U.S. National Development Team.
But the 51-year-old bench boss can exceed the role of a developmental coach. While the NHL is a large leap from the NCAA, Quinn has been here before. There is also little pressure on the team be formidable contenders next season—they will be sporting a roster with a cluster of young players as it stands right now. Gaining experience and grooming them into consistent, solid hockey players is the No. 1 item on the agenda.
Quinn can win, however, and stands a good chance of exceeding expectations in his new role. Look no further than the fact that after his worst season as Boston University’s head coach, he had his best.
There will certainly be an adjustment period for Quinn come October, but the coach’s track record should give Rangers fans a glimmer of hope after a disappointing end to the 2017-18 season.
I cover the Boston Bruins and NCAA Hockey here at The Hockey Writers. Born and raised 10 miles north of Boston, I developed a love for the game of ice hockey at a very young age. There’s really nothing better than this sport, though steak is a close second.