Chris Drury talks Rangers kids, getting tough, and naming a captain for the 2021-22 season
New York Rangers President and General Manager, Chris Drury met with the media today as the team gets set to open rookie camp this Friday.
“I’m certainly excited about the guys we’ve added (Goodrow, Reaves, Blais, Nemeth),” Drury said. “We were looking to have more defined roles within our lineup and give Turk (Gerard Gallant) as many options as he can to fill those roles, and I think we did address a lot of them.”
Here are some key takeaways that he discussed.
Rangers taking their time to name a captain
The Blueshirts have been without a captain since Ryan McDonagh was traded in 2018. Early this summer, Drury made it point to wanting to give the “right” person the C this season.
Currently, Drury would like to allow new head coach, Gerard Gallant more time to get to know his players before a final decision is made.
The Rangers are believed to have narrowed down their choices to Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba, and Mika Zibanejad. Of the three, Kreider appears to be the favorite. Zibanejad’s looming UFA status will likely play into the decision.
On adding “toughness”
When it comes to getting tougher, Drury’s comments seem to affirm that he is still following the game plan of his his predecessors, John Davidson and Jeff Gorton.
“It really wasn’t something that was just all of a sudden,” Drury acknowledged about adding toughness. “We knew this was going to be a piece of the puzzle that we needed to add at some point.”
On a recent podcast, Gorton said after his dismissal, “We had [meetings] with David Quinn talking about getting tougher over time, we also needed some of these young guys who were playing for us to have to deal with adversity – see how they did with it too.”
Those comments proved it was a known issue, and one that Gorton tried to address in 2018 when he went after Ryan Reaves.
Drury confirmed that fact when asked about the 35 year-old enforcer and why the Blueshirts extended him so quickly.
I”t wasn’t a reaction to [Tom Wilson],” Drury explained. “We tried to get Ryan three years ago when he was a free agent and he chose to stay in Vegas. He’s a player we’ve liked for a long time and thought it was a good opportunity to get him.”
On the kids and the lineup
While the majority of the lineup seems pretty set barring any unforeseen trades, some questions required confirmation.
Vitali Kravtsov was not part of Development Camp while Morgan Barron and Zac Jones are. All three played last season for the team late in the season. Drury feels he’s more experienced than the other prospects and believes Kravtsov will play a big role this season.
On the long awaited arrival of young defenseman Nils Lundkvist, Drury also believes he is likely to make the team.
Finally, and likely one of the most important tidbits is Drury stating he sees Filip Chytil’s future as a center. That likely places Barclay Goodrow on the third line wing to start the season.
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