The New York Rangers went up 2-0 on two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions Tampa Bay Lightning the same day that head coach Gerard Gallant found out that he did not win the Jack Adams Award as the league’s best coach. Although, I’m sure he’d take the win over Tampa any day. Plus, the Rangers recently signed three players to entry-level contracts.
Gallant Jack Adams Award Finalist
Gallant was named one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Award, while Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter and Andrew Brunette of the Florida Panthers were the others. Sutter finished first, Brunette second, and Gallant third. Both the Flames and the Panthers have already been eliminated from the playoffs, so I’m sure Gallant is much happier than the other two coaches at the moment.
Sutter received 54 first-place votes and a total of 353 overall. Brunette had 34 first-place nods with a total of 249, while Gallant finished with 12 first-place votes and a total of 142. The Flames won the Pacific Division with a record of 50-21-11, while Florida won the President’s Trophy for the best record in the NHL. Brunette, who took over for Joel Quenneville early in the 2021-22 season, coached the Panthers to a 58-18-6 record, with 51 of those wins coming under Brunette.
This was Gallant’s first year at the helm after coming aboard this past offseason, and he led the Rangers to a 54-22-6 record and second place in the Metropolitan Division in 2021-22. He has now skippered four teams and has a career winning percentage of .566 during the regular season. He won the Jack Adams for the 2017-18 season while coaching the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural campaign, where he helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final. This was the third time he’s been nominated for the award and the sixth Rangers’ coach of all time to be up for it. If he had won, he would have been the first.
Rangers Sign Edstrom, Korczak & Lindbom
The Blueshirts signed Adam Edstrom, Ryder Korczak and Olaf Lindbom to entry-level contracts. Edstrom and Korczak signed for three years, while Lindbom for two. Edstrom is a forward who played in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) with Rogle BK and helped his team win a Champions Hockey League title this season. He played 43 games and had seven goals and two assists to go along with a plus-2 and 74 hits. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Swede, who was the Rangers’ sixth-round pick in 2019, also added three goals and one assist in 13 playoff games.
Korczak is a 19-year-old who played for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season. The 5-foot-7, 175-pound forward scored 25 goals and 54 assists in 68 games while finishing with a plus-12 in the plus/minus column. He led the Warriors in assists and was third in goals. The Saskatchewan native was the Rangers’ third-round pick (75th overall) in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Lindbom is a goalie who the Rangers drafted in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He played for Kristianstads IK of HockeyAllsvenskan, which is the second-tier league in Sweden. The 6-foot-2, 182-pound netminder won “Best Goaltender” at the 2017-18 Under-18 (U18) World Championships. During the 2021-22 season with Kristianstads IK, he posted a 3.22 goals-against average (GAA) and a .900 save percentage (SV%) in 27 games. Over parts of three seasons in the league, he’s recorded 34 wins and a .890 SV%.
Gallant Was the Right Choice
Gallant has already paid dividends for Rangers’ president and general manager (GM) Chris Drury, as he fired David Quinn early in his tenure and hired Gallant shortly afterward. It’s proven to be a wise choice as he was nominated for a Jack Adams Award and has the team poised to win the Eastern Conference Final and appear in their first Stanley Cup Final since 2014.