Today we found out that Ulf Samuelsson will be leaving the New York Rangers organization. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? That question can not be answered until the season starts and we see if any changes are made to the current style of play.
Off the bat this seems like bad news for the Rangers. Ulf has been instrumental in helping the organization develop talent in the minor leagues and produce NHL ready players. Clearly Ron Francis, the Carolina GM, and the Carolina Hurricanes organization see the potential of Ulf to mentor and develop their prospects to NHL caliber. My guess is that not only did Francis look at the present with Samuelsson coaching the AHL affiliate team in Charlotte, but also looked into the future at the potential to promote Ulf to coach the Hurricanes in the future. Bill Peters, the current NHL head coach will be going into his 3rd year as head coach, and something tells me if the Hurricanes get off to another rough start his head will be on the chopping block leaving a void that may be filled by Samuelsson.
As far as the Rangers are concerned, this may be an opportunity to bring in another talented assistant coach who can transform a defense that was abysmal this past year. As far as I’m concerned the defense needs a major facelift and given that Ulf was primarily in charge of the defense I assume that his replacement will fall into the same role. Hopefully the new coach can see the potential in the younger D-men like Skjei and McIlrath, while also suggesting that Yandle takes a walk even though I know most of you don’t agree with that. A reasonable replacement in my opinion would be an old-time Rangers tough guy defenseman, Jeff Beukeboom. For one thing Jeff could instill some toughness in an otherwise soft roster, and would have a soft spot for other tough guys namely, McIlrath. Beukeboom would add a fresh mind to the system, while also providing his expertise in defending against the oppositions top players. Beukeboom has been an assistant coach for Hartford for the past 4 seasons and may be looking to make the jump to the NHL.
Only time will tell who will replace Samuelsson, but my vote is cast for Beukeboom. In the meantime we wish Ulf Samuelsson the best of luck with Carolina.
Let’s Go Rangers!