The Canucks and Rangers have swapped head coaches. How will these moves impact the two teams from a fantasy hockey perspective?


The Rangers get: One of the better coaches in hockey. Vigneault runs a smart bench. He is known for his radical zone start strategy (he gives primary offensive zone starts to his scorers, and gives his bottom six forwards tough defensive minutes). This frees up his scorers for more scoring opportunities.


He likes to activate the defense, and he favours veterans over rookies (the leash was often short in Vancouver with the young players). Vigneault is good with the media, but he sometimes struggles with communication regarding his players (and their injuries, in particular).


Here’s a lengthier look at Vigneault as a coach.


The Canucks get: A very different coach than Vigneault. Tortorella will tone down his media antics in Vancouver (or he wouldn’t have gotten the job). The Canucks ownership and front office all really like him – assistant GM Laurence Gilman worked with Tortorella in Phoenix. Vancouver’s window to win is two or three years. From pretty good sources, the core of the team was behind hiring Tortorella. They want someone to come in and give them a push.


Tortorella hasn’t had as much offensive success as Vigneault has (as a coach), but he tends to give young players a longer leash to develop (look at how he has handled Del Zotto, McDonagh, Stepan, and so on). The Canucks need someone to come in and work with Tanev, Corrado, Kassian, Jensen, Gaunce, Schroeder, and so on. Tortorella is more balanced with his match-up strategies, and he loves to play his star players a ton. Hopefully Ryan Kesler’s body can hold up.


The Sedins won’t see as many offensive zone starts, but they will probably get more total ice time. So the impact on their production will likely be minimal.


And here is more on Tortorella.


At the end of the day, these are two really good teams that both needed fresh starts. Vigneault will be a welcomed change for the Rangers veterans, while the Canucks will welcome Tortorella’s motivation and involvement in the dressing room. Vigneault left the motivation up to the players, by and large, and the fact that a few of them were pushing for Tortorella tells us that perhaps they wanted a kick in the butt. And for those who didn’t, they better get ready for one.


Rangers who will benefit:

1. The offensive defensemen – Vancouver has always had high scoring defensemen (not one, but a by-committee approach)

2. Brad Richards – fresh start, Vigneault will give him lots of offensive minutes

3. Rick Nash


Rangers who won’t benefit:

1. Derek Stepan (I think his crazy 20+ minutes will be dialed back a bit – more of a two-way role?)

2. Derrick Brassard – has to prove himself to a new coach

3. Chris Kreider/JT Miller


Canucks who will benefit:

1. Zack Kassian

2. The other young guys (Brendan Gaunce)


Canucks who won’t benefit:

1. Alex Edler/the defensemen in general (if the Canucks are smart, they will put Jason Garrison and his bomb on PP1)


Tortorella and Vigneault are similar coaches. They both believe in having strong defensive clubs first and foremost, and their offenses have depended on the personnel they have been given to work with. Their processes are different (Vigneault more understated, Tortorella fiery), and that is where the two teams are looking to see some improvements.


This post is fairly general, as it remains to be seen what other changes are made in both New York and Vancouver. But I hope there is some direction in here to help with important fantasy decisions (particularly pertaining to Mr. Brad Richards).


And it isn't a surprise that Ruff and Tortorella are off the market soon after the Dave Tippett news broke. DAL/VAN both liked Tippett (just as they should – he’s a top five coach in hockey).

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Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... From a fantasy perspective:

Who this helps:
1. Every skater on the Rangers
2. Cory Schneider

Who this hurts:
1. Every skater on the Canucks
2. Henrik Lundqvist

I don't think Torts and Vigneault are similar at all, other than they are both successful NHL coaches. In fact, I'd say Tortorella is exactly the coach you get when your perennial division winner can't get out of the first round, while Vigneault is the kind of coach you get when your players openly revolt against the slave driver they've been working for the past few seasons (which is exactly what has transpired).

Aside from that, donpaulo is on the money with Torts. He doesn't give young players -or really any players at all - a long leash. Players that finish every check and attempt to block every single shot will play, while finesse players won't unless they are going great guns (see Gaborik, MDZ, Kreider and their widely fluctuating fortunes the past couple of seasons). He's a good coach for a while, but his act wears thin. Also, the whole 'block every single shot' defensive zone philosophy will clearly run all of your defensemen into the ground over the long haul.

As for the Rangers, no coaching change is going to impact Stepan, Brassard or Richards. Stepan was easily the Rangers' best forward from start to finish in 2013 and Brassard was playing out of his mind from the moment he put on a Rangers jersey. Meanwhile Richards was pitiful. The only thing that could change their fortunes is if Stepan and Brassard regress and/or if Richards can bounce back. No one in their right mind is going to break down tape and say to themselves, "let's cut back the minutes for that one kid with good hands who skates like the wind and that other big kid who roams around the ice menacing the opposition like a bull in a china shop, and give more minutes to the guy who was great 10 years ago but is about half as fast as used to be and shies away from all contact."
June 25, 2013
Votes: +0

donpaulo said:

... for the record Tortorella is not all that patient with younger players. He also clearly plays favorites and will choose a whipping boy to receive his public criticisms.

A good example of these situations are;
Chris Kreider often found himself with 4th liners or stapled to the bench. Then was told he had to play "better".
JT Miller received ample ice time when he was throwing his weight around, caused a turnover or three and was benched then sent back to the AH where he probably should have been all along.
Ryan Callahan got boat loads of ice time and responded with a heck of a season despite reports of 8 shoulder separations
Brian Boyle it seemed was always on the receiving end of Tort's rants. This season it appeared to sink in and Boyle went out and threw his body around in addition to improving his faceoff skills or at least that was my perception of what happened. The public mistreatment was seen by everyone in the garden on a nightly basis. Towards the end of the season Boyle went public saying he could no longer sleep due to stress. NYR fans love to hate on the guy too but he has been a warrior for NY over the past few seasons.
Carl Hagelin was publicly criticized for being terrible on the powerplay
MDZ caused more than a few turnovers resulting in Torts neck veins bulging to the bursting point

With John Tortorella you are going to see every reaction, hear every comment, and clearly identify his body language. He motivates by creating expectations of his players and by alternatively yelling and benching them. Occasionally you will see a pat on the back for a job well done. The guy totally runs hot and cold, there is not a warm bloodcell in his body. Meh is not in the guys genetics.

He has also been able to garner a level of respect among the refs and linesmen. As furious as he got at guys like DZ and Boyler he usually maintains his calm when it comes to the officiating and it seemed like NY never really got jobbed by the zebras under JT's stewardship.

I really hope he is the medicine the Canucks need. He was exactly what NY needed as they started turning the corner and developing their own players. But the act has a limited shelf life...
June 25, 2013
Votes: +1

austeane said:

Rangers who won't benefit. I own Stepan, Brassard and Krieider in one league...
June 24, 2013
Votes: +0

MJ Flex said:

MJ Flex
... I'm hoping that Vignault leans on McDonagh like he did Hamhuis in Vancouver. Could see Ryan Mac reach the 40 point level.
June 24, 2013
Votes: +0

Rollie1967 said:

... the fact that Canuck ownership was in on Tortorella's interview is worrisome. reeks of McCaw hiring Keenan when Burke wanted nothing to do with him. I wonder how Gillis' Italian is?
June 24, 2013
Votes: -1
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