Pat Leonard at the Daily News reports that Ulf Samuelsson is a leading candidate to be hired as one of Alain Vigneault’s assistants. Samuelsson, who was the head coach of Modo (SEL) last season, has apparently left that job. moved to Phoenix and his looking for a job in the NHL.
The former Rangers defenseman was an assistant in Phoenix from 2006 through 2011.
Leonard also notes that Newell Brown might be a candidate to join the staff, having worked the past three seasons on Vigneault’s staff in Vancouver.
Brown, who also worked in Chicago, Columbus and Anaheim, was in charge of a Canucks power play that went from first in the league in 2009-10 to fourth in 2010-11 and then plummeted to 22nd this past season.
…there's a lot to like about Samuelsson. First and foremost is his connection to the Rangers. Always nice to have someone on the staff who's worn the Blueshirt and has experienced what it's like to play in this market.
…next, as Adam mentioned in the comments section yesterday, will hopefully be his ability to teach the Rangers defenders how to be a little nastier in front of Lundqvist. Ironically, the Rangers have been downright cordial on defense since Samuelsson was traded to Detroit in 1999.
…i'm also a fan of bringing in a guy like Brown who Vigneault is familiar with as it'll help with his transition to a new team. I know the Canucks power play took a nose dive last season, but from what I've read it had more to do with injuries than Brown forgetting how to run an effective extra man. I'm actually foaming at the mouth imagining the idea of the Rangers having a respectable power play.
…bottom line is that a staff of Vigneault, Samuelsson and Brown would be a major upgrade over Torts and Sully.
There were also rumors yesterday that Vigneault's contract with the Rangers will be five years, $10 million.
…to be honest, I couldn't care less about the head coach's contract. It doesn't affect the cap and he can still be fired no matter how long the deal is for.