Amerks’ Peca named assistant coach with Rangers

Rochester Americans assistant coach Michael Peca has been named an assistant coach of the New York Rangers, where he will work with new head coach Peter Laviolette and his staff.

Peca spent the last two seasons with the Amerks, overseeing the team’s offense. Rochester made back-to-back postseason appearances, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals this spring.

Peca was instrumental in the development of several top Buffalo Sabres prospects over the last two years, most notably Jack Quinn, Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen, the team’s first-round picks in each of the last three years, as well as 2020 second-round pick JJ Peterka, 2022-23 team MVP Brandon Biro, Linus Weissbach and Brett Murray.

Peca spent the 2020-21 season as a player development coach with the Washington Capitals under Laviolette, working primarily with the players on the taxi squad.

As a player, Peca began his rookie professional season in Syracuse, tallying 34 points in 35 games with the AHL’s Crunch in 1994-95. He went on to spend 15 years in the NHL with Vancouver, Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Edmonton, Toronto and Columbus, appearing in 864 games and twice winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s outstanding defensive forward. Peca, who captained the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999 and returned to the Finals with the Oilers in 2006, was also a member of Canada’s gold medal team at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

In 2016, Peca served as an honorary captain for the AHL All-Star Classic in Syracuse.