Jeff Gorton appears to be executing the same plan that turned Boston around
In 1992, Jeff Gorton began working for the Boston Bruins. He spent three years as a pro scout, and in 1995, was appointed to assistant general manager. On November 1st, 2000, Mike O’ Connell was named general manager of the Boston Bruins. At that time, the Bruins were struggling having finished the 1999-2000 season 24th overall in the league and missing the playoffs. O’Connell was a quiet general manager, and his biggest acquisition was David Krejci. However, after trading Joe Thornton, he was fired.
Enter Jeff Gorton.
Jeff Gorton became the interim general manager for the Boston Bruins on March 25, 2006. The young executive made some great trades as an interim general manager. He traded goaltender Andrew Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs for goaltender Tuukka Rask, and on July 1st, signed Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard as free agents. On top of that, Gorton ran the 2006 draft which produced Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand. Zdeno Chara would go on to win the Norris trophy as the best NHL defenseman in 2009, and Tuukka Rask would win the Vezina trophy for the best NHL goaltender in the 2014 season. On July 15, 2006, Peter Chiarelli was hired as general manager and about a year later (June 27, 2007), Jeff Gorton was relieved of his duties. He was picked up by the Rangers as a pro-scout.
On July 1, 2015, Jeff Gorton was promoted to general manager of the Rangers when Glen Sather stepped down. Before O’ Connell was fired, the Bruins were struggling. They missed the playoffs during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, and lost in the first round the next three years. This seems rather similar to the Rangers’ story.
The Rangers have made the playoffs in the last seven seasons but recently have struggled. When Jeff Gorton stepped in as interim general manager of the Bruins, he made some shrewd moves in signing Chara and Savard. With the Rangers, Jeff Gorton has signed Jimmy Vesey, John Gilmour, Michael Grabner, and some other free agents who have made an impact on the Ranger team. He also traded Derick Brassard for Mika Zibanejad, and later Derek Stepan for Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft (Lias Andersson). Now that the Rangers need a fresh look, he traded Nick Holden, Michael Grabner, Rick Nash, Ryan Graves, J.T. Miller, and Ryan McDonagh.
It is an exciting time to be a Rangers’ fan right now. This upcoming draft, the Rangers have three first round picks, along with seven other picks in the 2018 draft. This coming off the heels of having two 1st rounders last year that added Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil.
In recent years, the Bruins have drafted Charlie McAvoy, David Pastrnak, JakeDeBrusk, Brandon Carlo, Ryan Donato, and even Ryan Lindgren, who is now a Ranger. Gorton has likely kept a close eye on his former team’s approach and now has a great opportunity to do the same.
The Bruins are a team that others should model how to rebuild quickly after. They traded for picks, signed important free-agents, and it is clear that Jeff Gorton is using his prior experience from the Bruins with the Rangers. After all, he even traded twice with the Bruins. Now, can the Rangers repeat the quick turnaround Boston experienced? We are going to find out.