The New York Rangers are the most popular team right now in the NHL. After defeating the experienced Penguins in the first round, they eliminated the heavily favored Hurricanes in the second.
Then, they are currently up 2-0 in their series against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, the Lightning.
As Nicolas Cloutier pointed out earlier this week, it was Jeff Gorton who built the formation that is hatching before our eyes.
Reminder this Tuesday morning.
Jeff Gorton essentially built the edition of the Bruins that reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019.
And he built the team that just made it to the Eastern finals, the Rangers.
– Nicholas Cloutier (@NCloutierTVA) May 31, 2022
In fact, Gorton worked with the Rangers from 2007 to 2021. He has held many roles, including professional scout and assistant general manager. From 2015 until last year, he was CEO of Blue Shirts.
After the Tom Wilson saga last year, he and John Davidson were ousted by James Dolan, one of the most hot-headed owners in all of sports (ask Knicks fans).
Looking at the roster of the Rangers who beat Tampa yesterday, seven of the forwards, five of the defensemen, as well as the starting goaltender, were drafted or acquired via trade or free agent by Gorton (68%).
In attack: Kreider, Zibanejad, Panarin, Strome, Lafrenière, Chytil and Kaako.
On defense: Lindgren, Fox, Miller, Trouba and Schneider
Goalkeeper: Igor Shesterkin
Some of these players, like Zibanejad, Fox or Strome, were brilliantly acquired during transactions. While others like Kreider and Chytil were drafted and developed.
Also, it is Nick Bobrov, now a Montreal employee, who is responsible for the Chytil and Kakko selections. At that time, he was the head of the New York European draft.
Although both of these forwards have had slow career starts, Rangers’ recent success has been directly linked to their performances. Kakko has three points from his last three games, while Chytil has six from his last four.
In February 2018, Gorton and Davidson sent a letter to their supporters, asking for patience before what was expected to be a lengthy rebuild.
A message from Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton. pic.twitter.com/Q56CXS8vDc
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 8, 2018
Just over four years later, New York is two games away from returning to the Finals for the first time since 2014.
But it’s important to admit that Gorton’s rebuilding was hastened by a few lucky breaks. After finishing 18th overall in 2020, they won the playoff lottery, allowing them to get their hands on Lafrenière. In 2019, the lottery allowed them to go from sixth to second place to select Kakko.
The drawing power of New York also played strong. They signed Artemi Panarin on the free agent market. Adam Fox sprained the Hurricanes’ arm to end up on his childhood team. Two years later, he won the Norris and proved to be one of the best offensive defenders in the league.
Even Gorton shouldn’t have expected him to get so good, so fast.
All in all, based on the work he’s done in New York (and Boston), it looks like the Habs are in good hands with Jeff Gorton. He capitalized on the appeal of the Canadiens brand and Geoff Molson’s deep pockets to create an imposing hockey structure (advanced stats, development, etc.) that could soon make the Habs one of the best organizations in the NHL.
However, since Montreal just isn’t New York, don’t expect the Canadians to take the same shortcuts and become as good and as fast as the Rangers.
A lot of
“So he will go back to Russia.
Alexander Romanov will play in the annual 3HL City Cup in Moscow on June 25, which is a 3v3 tournament that plays NHL overtime rules, with no offside. #GoHabsGo
— Andrew Zadarski (@AZadarski) June 4, 2022
For those wondering, there isn’t a Jersey-like visit scheduled for Wright in Montreal. She didn’t do anything before the Combine either.
—Marc Antoine Godin (@MAGodin) June 4, 2022
– Polish is simply dominant.
Roland Garros Champion | Unstoppable Iga Swiatek https://t.co/SFFmTdUyB0
– The Sports Press (@LaPresse_Sports) June 4, 2022
– For those who were wondering.
Shane Wright is 6-foot-0.5 and weighs 199 pounds. #NHLCombine
—Mark Scheig (@markscheig) June 4, 2022
– Potential trades for the Oilers tonight