How much have the New York Rangers plans changed with Chris Drury in charge

New York Rangers
Apr 9, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders with defenseman Adam Fox (23) during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

For the New York Rangers a lot has changed already. It started on May 5th with the dismissals of both their President, John Davidson and GM, Jeff Gorton. The move also came with the announcement that Associate GM, Chris Drury would assume both roles.

The next biggest shoe to drop was the release of David Quinn and his coaching staff just seven days later on May 12th. It was largely expected, but a clear indication that there was at least going to be a change in approach from here on out.

James Dolan gives Rangers playoff mandate

After Dolan made the change in management, he laid out the edict to make the playoffs. His wording in the press release stated, “in order for the team to succeed in the manner our fans deserve, there needs to be a change in leadership,” was the the first indication. The revealing interview with Larry Brooks made it known that Dolan feels this team is ready to compete for the Stanley Cup too.

“I really believe in what we’ve accomplished since The Letter. We have a lot of good pieces & it’s an exciting time for the org,” Chris Drury said soon after his hiring. “When the season ends, we’re going to take a look at everything and see if we can take the next step and make ourselves a playoff team.”

So what exactly does that mean? Many fans are fearful that the Rangers will blow it up and trade kids for 30 year-old veterans. They all saw the plan under JD and Gorton being the long game. Simply continue to draft and develop to win for years to come. Once James Dolan fired them and called an end to the rebuild the worry was palpable and a cause for major concern to the fanbase.

The New York Rangers plans have not changed too much

New York Rangers plans
Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Forever Blueshirts has learned over the weekend that the Rangers acquisition philosophy has not changed. A knowledgeable source made it clear that the Blueshirts do not intend to trade kids for aging vets. Anyone who thinks there is a win at all costs mentality would be incorrect. As was explained to me, the idea is to be very good for a long time.

You can now exhale Rangerstown.

Still, does that mean the Rangers won’t look at a UFA like Zach Hyman who is 28 years-old? Would they dismiss a player like Jordan Martinook who is also 28 or Casey Cizikas at the age of 30? What about Alec Martinez at age 33 for a veteran defender? Although I was not able to get anything concrete on players, signing a veteran UFA falls in-line with the overall philosophy that guided the previous management and the new one Chris Drury is building. So long as it doesn’t cost a young asset to acquire such a player, it may make sense.

There will be a little more aggression to add certain players this offseason. Drury will look to bring in a little “toughness” too. Still, the plan has not changed at its core very much.

Trades for a player like Jack Eichel is what the Rangers will give up their young assets for

I understand many fans want to avoid 24 year-old Jack Eichel as if he was some sort of plague. Some think he’s not a good character guy which many of his teammates have come out and said that was false. He’s simply sick and tired of losing and disfunction. The neck injury is a concern, but some believe that rehab alone will get the herniated disc to go back in place.

Bottom line, to dismiss bringing in a player like Eichel who has averaged .95 points per game in Buffalo is foolish. Over the last few seasons he’s averaging 1.04 points per game playing with who? Now imagine what he could do with Artemi Panarin. Or maybe what he and Alexis Lafrenière could do for a decade together.

The idea that 25 year-old Aleksander Barkov will be available this summer isn’t far-fetched but I believe unlikely. He has a year left on his contract and the Panthers have a strong desire to keep him. Florida is also a very good hockey team so the chance to win is there for Barkov. Although if he were made available the Rangers would be all over trying to acquire him.

One other, and more likely option to be available this summer is Evgeny Kuznetsov. He’s much older at 28 years of age but has 4 more years left at a reasonable $7.8 million AAV. That’s financially wiser with Mika Zibanejad up for a new deal next summer. However, of all three players this one comes with some baggage and is only being made available because the Caps are fed up.

Chris Drury must be very careful that the players brought in will fit. The objective is to build a winning culture the Rangers want for this next phase. That part of the plan is also unchanged. Matter of fact, the only thing that did change is the timetable.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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