The Rangers fired Coach Alain Vigneault on Saturday, hours after ending their first playoff-less season in eight years with another loss. The Rangers, who lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-0, finished last in the Metropolitan Division.
In early February, when the team was still above .500 and within three points of a playoff spot, General Manager Jeff Gorton did not indicate whether Vigneault would return after the season. “A.V. is our coach,” Gorton said at the time. “He’s been a good coach for the Rangers. We have a lot of faith in A.V. We’ll leave it at that.”
Later that month, the Rangers broke up their roster before the trade deadline, shipping out Rick Nash; Nick Holden; Michael Grabner, their leading goal scorer at that point; J.T. Miller; and Ryan McDonagh, their captain.
Unsurprisingly, the Rangers slid backward, losing eight of their last 10 games to finish with a 34-39-9 record. The last time the franchise had fewer wins in a non-lockout season was 2003-04.
Vigneault coached the team for five seasons, making a Stanley Cup appearance in his first year. The Rangers were eliminated in Game 7 of the conference finals the next season, and followed that with first- and second-round playoff exits. The team earned the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record in 2014-15.
Vigneault went 226-147-37 with the Rangers. Before joining the team in 2013, he spent four seasons in Montreal and six in Vancouver, where he led the Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals.
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