After the New York Rangers’ first-round playoff exit, the franchise and coach Gerard Gallant have “mutually agreed to part ways,” the team announced Saturday.
Gallant just wrapped up his second year with the Rangers and leaves with a 99-46-19 regular season record. He led the Rangers to an appearance in the Eastern Conference final last season.
But the Rangers’ performance in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs ended in disappointment. New York took a 2-0 series lead but could not get past the rival New Jersey Devils.
“I want to first thank Gerard for his work and commitment to the Rangers during his time as head coach,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said in a statement.
Drury added that Gallant’s departure would be mutually beneficial.
“After my evaluation of the season and discussions with Gerard, we mutually came to the conclusion that a change would be beneficial for both parties. I wish he and his family all the best in the future. Our search for a new head coach will begin right away.”
Shortly after New York’s disappointing postseason, there was some discussion about whether Gallant would continue on as the team’s coach. Gallant’s contract ran through the 2024-25 season.
The Rangers entered the playoffs with high hopes after trading for star wingers Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko in February. Both players head into the summer as unrestricted free agents.
On Wednesday, Gallant mentioned that he had not yet spoken with Drury about his job status.
“I’m coming in here after what I think were two successful years. We had one bad week, and that cost us. If I can’t stand by my record and what I’ve done — and not just my record here — I think there’s something wrong. I think it’s pretty good. But we’re in New York, and people put stuff out there. And that’s fine,” Gallant told reporters.
“I can’t believe I have to answer some of these questions about me getting let go or getting fired, brought up by the media. Disappointing.”
Gallant released a statement saying he believed it was the right time for him to move on.
“The experience of coaching an Original Six franchise with such rich history and an incredibly passionate fan base is something I will never forget. After conversations with my family and Chris, it became clear that this was the right decision for both myself and the Rangers at this time,” Gallant said in a statement.
The Rangers have yet to announce any decisions on Gallant’s assistant coaches — Gord Murphy, Jim Midgley and Mike Kelly.