Three Join Vigneault's Staff
Three men with a wealth of experience, as well as distinct ties to the Rangers, will be joining Alain Vigneault's coaching staff for the 2013-14 season in New York. Former NHL head coach Scott Arniel has been hired by the Rangers to serve as Vigneault's associate coach, while former NHL players Ulf Samuelsson and Daniel Lacroix will be assistant coaches.
Arniel coached the Columbus Blue Jackets for the entire 2010-11 season and half of the 2011-12 campaign totaling 45 wins and 108 points over 123 games as head coach. While in Columbus he coached current Rangers Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, Anton Stralman, and John Moore. He also extensive experience as a head coach in the AHL---where he most recently guided the Chicago Wolves a year ago---and as an NHL assistant with the Buffalo Sabres.
A first-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in the 1981 draft, Arniel played in 730 NHL games as a forward for the Jets, Sabres, and Bruins, scoring 149 goals.
Samuelsson and Lacroix also both played in the National Hockey League, but unlike Arniel they both played for the Rangers at one point in their careers. Samuelsson, a two-time Stanley Cup winner in Pittsburgh, was a Ranger defenseman from 1995-96 through most of the 1998-99 season, while Lacroix was a second round selection of the Rangers during the 1987 NHL Draft who made his NHL debut with the Blueshirts during the magical 1993-94 campaign.
"It's obviously special because I played here and it's a great city," explained Samuelsson, who played 16 years in the NHL and also served as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes. "It's always been a family in this organization even though it's a big, busy place. It's a good working environment. And this team has great potential, too, which you always look at as a coach."
One of the most fierce defenders in the NHL, Samuelsson began his coaching career in the Rangers organization with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2005-06 before moving on to Phoenix where he worked with Wayne Gretzky and later Dave Tippett. Samuelsson spent the past two years as the head coach of MODO in the Swedish Elite League, guiding his club to a pair of playoff appearances.
A rugged forward during his 177-game NHL career with five teams, Lacroix accumulated 11 goals and 379 penalty minutes. He had served as an assistant coach the previous three years with the Tampa Bay Lightning after spending three years behind the bench as an assistant with the Islanders.
The three new members of the coaching staff will join Benoit Allaire, the popular goaltending coach who returns for his tenth season in the Rangers organization, in aiding Vigneault in his inaugural season on Broadway in 2013-14.
Share your thoughts on the make up of the Rangers new coaching staff below.