Today, the New York Rangers have named Kris Knoblauch the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack. Knoblauch replaces Keith McCambridge who was let go on April 15 after spending two seasons behind Hartford’s bench.
OFFICIAL: Kris Knoblauch has been named Head Coach of the #NYR American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 29, 2019
Knoblauch, 40, spent the last two seasons behind the bench as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers. According to behindthebenches.com, his primary responsibility was the Flyers’ power play. For those who are curious, the Flyers’ power play finished t-22nd in the league last season (17.1 percent) after ranking 15th in the league (20.1 percent) in the 2017-18 season.
Before he held that position, Knoblauch was the head coach of the Erie Otters in the OHL for five seasons and the head coach of the Kootenay Ice in the WHL for two seasons.
#Flyers say Ian Laperriere will remain as an assistant coach. Kris Knoblauch and Rick Wilson have been fired. Scott Gordon is going back to AHL Lehigh Valley, where Kerry Huffman will go back to being his assistant.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 6, 2019
In other words, Knoblauch is a young coach who has a wealth of experience coaching young players. He won the Matt Leydon Trophy, awarded to the OHL’s coach of the year, in 2016 and won an OHL championship in 2017 before making the jump to the NHL.
TSN’s Craig Button gave this glowing review of Knoblauch and his coaching credentials two seasons ago:
“Watch how his teams play, his kids play smart, he maximizes their abilities and yet I keep hearing … ‘you know, he might not be the greatest interview (for pro jobs).’ The interview should be how his teams play. Four 50-win seasons in a row and very successful in the Western League before that. He can flat-out coach. He’s adaptable, he knows how to make adjustments as the game’s going on. He’s a great developer and bench coach.”
This was a big role to fill for the Rangers this offseason and they found what appears to be a great fit in Knoblauch. We identified him as a target over a month ago when we analyzed some of the leading candidates for the role.