Rangers monitoring playoff coaches, Gerard Gallant favorite

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Gerard Gallant remains the leader in the clubhouse, but Rangers president-general manager Chris Drury is waiting to see if there is fallout from second-round playoff series that could free up another candidate or two to succeed David Quinn behind the bench, according to several individuals familiar with the team’s coaching search.

That means, first, the Blueshirts are going to monitor the situation in Carolina, where Rod Brind’Amour’s ’Canes were down 3-1 to the Lightning entering Tuesday’s Game 5 in Raleigh.

Brind’Amour’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and though the coach and team owner Tom Dundon had been working on a three-year extension late in the regular season, that remains unfinished business.

There is always the chance that the notoriously parsimonious owner will lowball Brind’Amour into free agency. It is believed the parties were discussing a number around $1.8 million per before talks broke off. The coach would probably be in line for close to $4 million annually in New York.

If it becomes about money, the Rangers will not be outbid. It may not, however, become about money for Brind’Amour, who played the final 10 seasons of his career in Carolina before joining the coaching staff as an assistant in 2011.

Rangers coaching search Gerard Gallant
Gerard Gallant, seen here coaching Team Canada at the World Championship, remains the favorite for the Rangers’ coaching job.
Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima

A well-placed source said Brind’Amour would immediately become Seattle’s first choice if he gets to the open market. The expansion Kraken might have greater appeal to Brind’Amour, with his one-time Carolina teammate Ron Francis running the show as GM.

The Rangers are also believed monitoring the situations with Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice following the Jets’ second-round sweep by Montreal after having swept Edmonton in the opening round, and with Boston’s Bruce Cassidy, whose Bruins are down 3-2 to the Islanders heading into Wednesday’s showdown at the Coliseum.

The Post has been told that Jared Bednar’s job as coach of the Avalanche might be in jeopardy if Colorado goes down to Vegas in a series that was tied 2-2 entering Tuesday’s Game 5. It is not clear whether Bednar would become a candidate in New York if he becomes available.

Rangers coaching search Bruce Cassidy, Rod Brind'Amour, Paul Maurice
Bruce Cassidy, Rod Brind’Amour, Paul Maurice
Boston Globe via Getty Images; Getty Images (2)

Drury was impressed by Gallant, who led Team Canada to an unexpected gold medal in the World Championships with a championship victory over Finland on Sunday, when he first interviewed in New York on May 14. It is believed Gallant then had a follow-up with Drury that was conducted remotely while the coach was in Latvia for the tournament.

Rick Tocchet, who has also spoken to Drury twice, created a favorable impression and also remains a viable candidate for the job.

Though John Tortorella, Mike Babcock, Patrick Roy, Bruce Boudreau and Claude Julien are not in the running, we have been told that Drury — as meticulous, methodical and close-mouthed as they come — has spoken to other persons of interest. It is not known whether any received what would be considered a formal interview.

Though Gallant and Tocchet could have other options with the Blue Jackets, Coyotes, Sabres and Kraken also in the market for a head coach — and with each known to have spoken with Columbus — the Rangers are operating as if they believe that neither would take a different job before notifying Drury of an offer.

As the Blueshirts hunt for his successor, Quinn remains in the mix with both Columbus and Arizona.

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