The Rangers have their new bench boss, and he’s bringing nine NHL seasons of head coaching experience with him.
Gerard Gallant was hired by Blueshirts president and general manager Chris Drury on Monday, The Post’s Larry Brooks first reported. The 57-year-old will be the 36th head coach in franchise history, and the Rangers will be the fourth NHL team Gallant takes over.
Gallant replaces David Quinn, who along with GM Jeff Gorton and team president John Davidson, was fired following the 2020-21 season.
The Canadian-born Gallant most recently led Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Championship in Riga, Latvia, at the beginning of this month. After starting the tournament 0-3, Gallant took an average roster and turned them into champions.
“It was just great for me personally to get behind the bench again, and to be able to win a gold medal with Team Canada makes it that much more special,” Gallant told The Athletic. “Just a lot of fun.’’
It had been 16 months since Gallant had been behind the bench. He had helped launch the NHL’s 31st franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, who hired him for their inaugural season in 2017-18. Gallant led the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup final in his first season, but Vegas lost to the Capitals.
After accumulating a 118-75-20 record in Vegas, Gallant was fired in January of last year.
Gallant’s first NHL head coaching gig was in Columbus, where he was promoted after three seasons as an assistant. He missed the playoffs his first two seasons in 2003-04 and in 2005-06 (after the 2004-05 lockout) before he was canned 15 games into the following regular season.
One of his more peculiar tenures was with the Panthers from 2014-16. Despite not qualifying for the playoffs in his first season, Gallant led the organization to a franchise record 103 points and their second division title the following season.
After a 3-2 road loss to the Hurricanes on Nov. 28, 2016, which dropped the Panthers to 11-10-1 to start the season, Gallant was fired that night and the team bus left without him. He had to call his own taxi.
Gallant has also had assistant coaching positions with the Canadiens and Islanders.
Prior to his coaching career, Gallant was a 5-foot-10 left winger who played a handful of seasons in the QMJHL and AHL before making it to the NHL in 1984-85. He spent nine seasons with the Red Wings, getting named to the NHL All-Star second team for the 1988-89 season.
“Gerry had a calming presence in the locker room,” former Detroit teammate and Rangers great Ron Duguay told The Post. “But when he competed on the ice, he made a great teammate because you always knew he had your back. You always admire guys that are willing to fight for you and cover for you, Gerry is all about that.
“He knows how to speak to a younger player and knows how to speak to a veteran.”
Additionally, Gallant played 51 games with the Lightning in 1993-94 and one game in the lockout-shortened 1995 season.
Gallant suffered from back injuries during his playing career and had to undergo surgery to remove a bone spur in March 1991. He signed with the IHL in October 1995, but suffered a career-ending back injury in practice and was forced to retire at the age of 32.
The Rangers need a head coach with experience, and Gallant certainly has been around the block.