Rangers’ Gerard Gallant fills out coaching staff with NHL vets

The Rangers’ new head coach, Gerard Gallant, officially has his staff.

As first reported by The Post’s Larry Brooks, Gord Murphy and Mike Kelly will serve as assistants under Gallant, along with Jim Midgley, the team announced Tuesday. Murphy is being promoted from AHL Hartford, and Steve Smith will join the Wolfpack as an assistant.

Murphy is about to embark on his first full season on the Rangers coaching staff, though he has been with the team in the past. He filled in as assistant coach for the Blueshirts during the qualifying round of the 2020 bubble playoffs, when Lindy Ruff went to the Devils, then stepped up to assist this past season during a coronavirus outbreak among the coaching staff.

An associate head coach in Hartford for the past two seasons, Murphy has 18 years of professional coaching experience, including parts of 16 seasons as an NHL assistant coach. He also worked as an assistant under Gallant with the Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons, from 2003-04 to 2006-07.

Gerard Gallant
Natalia Fedosenko/TASS via Getty Images

Prior to joining the Rangers, Murphy was an assistant for the Panthers and Flyers, the two teams with whom he spent the majority of his 14-year NHL career. Murphy, who is expected to handle the defense, will be replacing Jacques Martin, who was dismissed following this past season.

Kelly, who has worked under Gallant with the Golden Knights and Panthers, and most recently for Team Canada’s championship run in the 2021 World Championships, comes to New York with eight seasons of assistant coaching experience in the NHL. In addition to his three seasons in apiece with Vegas and Florida, Kelly also spent two seasons as an assistant for the Canucks.

Midgley, who spent the 2020-21 season as an amateur scout for the Flyers, coached in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for nine seasons. In 2017-18, Kelly led the Halifax Mooseheads to the second round of the QMJHL Playoffs. He is also expected to serve as an assistant for Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Gerard Gallant (right) and Michael Kelly speak during the IIHF Men's Ice Hockey World Championships.
Gerard Gallant (right) and Mike Kelly speak during the IIHF Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships.
AFP via Getty Images

After playing parts of 16 seasons in the NHL as a defenseman with the Oilers, Blackhawks and Flames, and winning the Stanley Cup three times in Edmonton, Smith began coaching. He most recently served as an assistant coach for the Sabres over parts of the past three seasons. Smith also was an assistant for the Hurricanes, Oilers and Flames, in addition to two seasons as a scout with the Blackhawks.


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