‘Very impressed’ Rangers have challenger for emerging college coach

As general manager Jeff Gorton continues the search to replace Alain Vigneault behind the Rangers bench, one source close to Jim Montgomery has told The Post that the team “has been very impressed” by the Denver University coach.

A second source familiar with the interview process confirmed that assessment.

Montgomery, who will turn 49 on June 30, appeared to the front-runner for the Florida job last year before taking himself out of the running. The Panthers then hired Bob Boughner. The Post has learned that Montgomery last year also rejected an offer from the Kings to join their staff as an assistant after hiring John Stevens to replace Darryl Sutter as head coach.

“He’s had numerous NHL interviews,” the original source said via text. “[He’s] very well respected.”

Reports surfaced Tuesday morning that Montgomery, who coached the Pioneers to the 2016-17 NCAA championship, has emerged as a leading candidate for the head job in Dallas following Ken Hitchcock’s retirement. It is unclear whether an offer has been extended and/or whether Montgomery would accept.

Montgomery, a Montreal native, is absent NHL experience as a coach. A proponent of up-tempo play and known as detail-oriented and as an excellent communicator, Montgomery is a believer in “The process,” as he explained in this first-person piece.

While college coaches David Quinn (BU) and Scott Sandelin are known candidates for the job on Broadway, the Rangers and Gorton have kept the search as confidential as possible. It is unknown whether the team is waiting to interview a coach currently under contract and working in the playoffs at either the AHL or NHL level.

“We’ve talked to a number of people and intend to speak to some more,” the GM told The Post Saturday in Toronto. “That’s about as far as I want to go on that.”

The Rangers’ organizational meetings commence May 7. Though there is no timetable on the search, it would be helpful to have a coach in place while the management team evaluates the current personnel and plots its course for the future.

In addition, Dallas’ interest in Montgomery may accelerate the Blueshirts’ own process in this matter.

Source: Read Full Article