The Rangers have lost their AHL head coach to the Oilers.
With Jay Woodcroft’s ouster as head coach in Edmonton amid the club’s dismal 3-9-1 start to the season, Kris Knoblauch has been handed the reins by Oilers general manager Ken Holland, The Post can confirm.
Knoblauch, who has served as head coach of the Rangers’ AHL affiliate since 2019-20, clearly didn’t have much of a path to the NHL bench in New York after getting passed over the past two head coaching searches.
He will now get to coach stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in Edmonton.
Knoblauch coached McDavid in the OHL with the Erie Otters.
This will be Knoblauch’s first head coaching gig in the NHL after the 45-year-old served as an assistant in Philadelphia for two seasons from 2017-2019.
Knoblauch compiled a 119-90-32 record with the Wolf Pack, which is off to a strong 7-3-1 start for the 2023-24 campaign.
As a result of Knoblauch’s departure, assistant Steve Smith will serve as interim head coach, according to a source.
The search for Knoblauch’s permanent replacement will begin immediately.
Hartford was scheduled to have a game on Sunday against the Providence Bruins and Knoblauch was set to be behind the bench.
Jonathan Quick will return to game action Sunday night against the Blue Jackets, after the Rangers backup netminder was not available last contest due to an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Despite participating in the entirety of the Blueshirts’ morning skate on Sunday, Igor Shesterkin did not dress as he continues to work through minor soreness.
As a result, Louis Domingue will serve as backup to Quick.
Sunday night marks the fourth game that Shesterkin hasn’t been available for.
The Rangers will have a five-day break in game action after the Columbus game, so the club presumably wants to give Shesterkin ample time to heal before he makes his next start.
Quick’s 1.77 goals-against average ranked third in the NHL entering Sunday night’s game, while his .935 save percentage was good for fourth.
The Rangers have seven players (Chris Kreider, Adam Fox, Erik Gustafsson, Alexis Lafreniere, Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck, and Mika Zibanejad) with nine or more points, which is tied for the second most in the NHL behind only Winnipeg’s eight.
Entering Sunday’s slate of games, Will Cuylle ranked first among NHL rookies in hits with 36 and carried a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists) into the Blue Jackets game.
The last Rangers rookie to have a point streak of five games was Adam Fox.