The New York Rangers have announced that David Oliver and Greg Brown have joined the organization as assistant coaches. Lindy Ruff remains an assistant coach but what he will be responsible for is unknown.
OFFICIAL: #NYR have named David Oliver and Greg Brown as Assistant Coaches.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 17, 2018
Oliver, a former Blueshirt, joins the Rangers after spending the past 11 seasons with the Colorado Avalanche organization.
Brown joins the Rangers after spending the past 14 seasons at Boston College. pic.twitter.com/tD1Obf7rYA
The key link that unites Oliver and Quinn is the Lake Erie Monsters.
Oliver served as Lake Erie’s GM when the team hired current #NYR Head Coach David Quinn to be the Monsters’ Head Coach prior to the 2009-10 season, and Oliver also served as an Assistant Coach on Quinn’s staff in Lake Erie during the 2011-12 season.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 17, 2018
Oliver most recently served as the Colorado Avalanche’s Director of Player Development, a role he held for four seasons. From his bio:
David Oliver recently finished his 11th season with the Colorado Avalanche organization and his fourth as the club’s Director of Player Development. He was hired to his role on July 1, 2014.
Prior to current role, Oliver spent three seasons as Director of AHL Operations for the Lake Erie Monsters, Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate at the time.
Oliver, 47, works with Avalanche Assistant General Manager Craig Billington in overseeing the development of all of the franchise’s prospects in the professional, junior and college ranks in both North America and Europe.
The Sechelt, B.C., native spent seven seasons with Lake Erie as he joined the club during its inaugural campaign in 2007-08. He spent four seasons as the Monsters’ Director of Player Development and General Manager (2007-2011) before being promoted to Director of AHL Operations on July 29, 2011. Under his watch, Lake Erie finished with a 44-28-3-5 record (96 points) in 2010-11 and earned its first playoff berth in franchise history. He also served as an assistant coach for the team over the course of two seasons.
Oliver is someone who has worked his way through the ranks, and seems like a great fit for the Rangers. His resume shows a logical progression, and he certainly fits what the Rangers were looking for.
Brown joins the Rangers after spending the last 14 years at Boston College. From our previous post on the prospect of Brown joining the organization:
The 50-year-old native of Southborough, MA was drafted No. 26 overall as a defenseman in the second round of the 1986 draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Brown was the captain of the Eagles during the 1989-90 season, and in his senior year he tallied 40 points in 42 games.
Brown’s NHL career lasted 94 games and after stints in the AHL he went to Europe where he played in Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
He retired from playing hockey in 2003, and after a brief time off he returned to his alma mater in August of 2004. At BC, Brown held the position of assistant coach from 2004 to 2012, and was named an associate coach at the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
He’s also served as an assistant coach for Team USA’s U20 team at the WJC tournament on three occasions (2014, 2017 and 2018). According to his bio, “Brown works closely with the team’s defensemen and has worked extensively with special teams.”
The Rangers certainly stayed true to their word about looking to focusing on player development, and these hires are in line with the current objective of rebuilding the organization.
James Dolan spoke with the New York Post in April, and these hires seemingly are in line with his directive.
We’re looking for someone who can develop players and develop a team,” Garden executive chairman Jim Dolan told The Post during a conversation at his MSG office on Wednesday. “We want someone who is going to be able to work with young players — all of our players, really — so that they and we improve from one stage of the season to the next and we’re better at the end of the year than at the beginning.
“We need a coach who is going to be able to coordinate with the assistants and the training staff in putting a program in place. He’s going to have to be able to delegate authority in identifying deficiencies and fixing them. Scolding a player doesn’t fix the problem. He can’t try to do everything by himself. The job is just too big.”
Both Oliver and Brown have experience working with younger players, in Oliver’s case the AHL and Brown’s case the NCAA, and the Rangers are bound to have a number of young players in the fold over the next few seasons. Based on their history, I would assume Oliver will work with the forwards and Brown will work with the defense. You add Quinn to the mix and the Rangers now have a staff that can grow, learn and develop with a young and developing team.
It is interesting that the coaching staff is low in NHL experience, Quinn is the only one with time behind an NHL bench, but that could be by design. This is not including Ruff who could be a coach off the bench in an “eye in the sky” type role. The organization is building for the future and long run, and experience at the NHL level may have not been something that was a top level priority. If this were a win now team with veterans there is a case to be made about having someone with credentials calling the shots. But the Rangers this year, and next year will be drastically different than the teams fans have become accustomed to watching.
No matter how you look at it, the Rangers are trying a new direction, and committing to the concept of a rebuild from the top down. The coaching staff is now in place, and the only thing left for the team to do is take care of the four remaining restricted free agents. After that it will almost be time for hockey season.
For now however, what are your thoughts on the hires? Do you like the approach the Rangers are taking, or would you have done something different?