Former Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson is set to become an assistant coach under Alain Vigneault for the New York Rangers, Swedish news source Expressen reports. Samuelsson spent four seasons with the Rangers, becoming a fan favorite due to his physical play and tendency to play with his heart on his sleeve. Samuelsson was previously an assistant for the Hartford Wolfpack during the 2005-2006 season before moving on to become an assistant in Phoenix for five seasons. Samuelsson was just recently head coach of Modo in the Swedish Elite League.
Using Google's rough translation of the article, Samuelsson claims he will be responsible for, among other things, the defensemen and penalty kill. Samuelsson claims he has already talked to fellow Swede and New York Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman. Samuelsson also claims to have had offers from four other teams. From the article:
"In recent weeks, I have met Vigneault on a few occasions and it feels right to be part of his team, Rangers. He seems strong and sympathetic."
Vigneault previously said that he wanted assistant coaches with experience, and Samuelsson clearly has plenty of that. Samuelsson spent a number of years in the NHL as a physical, defensive defenseman and has a lengthy coaching resume to complement that. It also doesn't hurt that Samuelsson spent time in New York, has an emotional tie to the organization, and knows what to expect as he joins an Original Six franchise in a huge city with high expectations.
In related news, Renaud Lavoie of RDS in Montreal reports that Rangers goaltending coach Benoit Allaire will return. Allaire is one of the most respected goaltending coaches in the world and surely Henrik Lundqvist will be happy.
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