Gerard Gallant and the Vegas Golden Knights could be on a collision course for an early reunion.
With the NHL on the cusp of returning, the Vegas Golden Knights and the 23 other teams are currently preparing to go back to war again.
For the seven teams that aren’t returning this year, however, it is all about the immediate and long-term future.
And, according to reports on Wednesday, the New Jersey Devils have moved a step closer to establishing the faces that will usher in a new era at The Prudential Center.
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Now, being a New York Rangers fan and having witnessed Ruff’s inability to nurture a cohesive blueline unit, I’m not convinced this is the best or smartest move for the Devils.
But, whether or not Ruff is the right man to steady the ship and get the best out of the young core in New Jersey isn’t the point of this article.
Rather, the point is that with the Devils having gone down a road many would not have predicted, that leaves the door wide open for the Seattle franchise to make a move for former Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant.
Adding another intriguing layer to future Pacific Division matchups between two of the NHL’s newest expansion franchises as a direct result.
Out of work since being fired by the Golden Knights on Jan. 15, in a move that sent shockwaves throughout the hockey landscape, Gallant is one of the hottest commodities available on the open market right now.
Boasting a 270-216-4-51 record as Bench Boss of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Florida Panthers and the Golden Knights, Gallant has an impressive resume coupled with a wealth of experience in the National Hockey League.
He’s also a perfect candidate for the Seattle franchise for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Gallant knows the Pacific Division inside out thanks to his body of work with Vegas, a factor that will prove invaluable to an expansion team entering their first year in the NHL.
However, perhaps more importantly is Gallant’s wealth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to the ins and outs of coaching an expansion team.
Given a group of misfits and other teams’ undesirables, Gallant quickly forged a winning mentality within the locker room and led the Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural year.
Then, handed shiny new toys in the ilk of Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny and Mark Stone, the Golden Knights made the postseason again under Gallant in 2018-19, and there is no doubt in my mind Gallant would have righted the ship if given the time this season.
So, Gallant is well versed when it comes to crafting a team from scratch and that will be a huge selling point to Seattle General Manager Ron Francis, who will have the shadow of the Knights looming over him and his organization when it comes to building a franchise from the ground floor up.
Gallant is also hugely respected within the NHL and he was seemingly loved by his players while with the Golden Knights, so that will be another box ticked for Seattle in their search for a Head Coach.
And, with the New Jersey Devils having picked their man, the path is now clear for Seattle to make a clear run at Gerard Gallant.
Thus setting up a quick reunion with the Vegas Golden Knights and their former Head Coach.