Jeff Gorton setup New York Rangers for success, Chris Drury needs to finish the job

jeff gorton kaapo kakko gordie clark
Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Kaapo Kakko poses for a photo after being selected as the number two overall pick to the New York Rangers in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are considered a playoff team and a Stanley Cup contender for the 2022-23 season. A lot of the success they experienced last year and will in the near future is due in large part to players that former GM Jeff Gorton either drafted, signed, or traded for.

Of the projected 23 players on the roster this upcoming season, Gorton was directly responsible for acquiring 16 of them. Chris Kreider was drafted by Glen Sather in 2009, but Gorton extended him in 2020.

If you add them up, that’s 70% of the Blueshirts likely roster.

New York Rangers roster by acquiring GM

Here’s a breakdown of the projected 2022-23 roster by GM and means of acquisition.

Blais, SamuelF26TradeChris Drury
Carpenter, RyanF31SigningChris Drury
Chytil, FilipC23DraftJeff Gorton
Fox, AdamRD24TradeJeff Gorton
Gauthier, JulienF24TradeJeff Gorton
Goodrow, BarclayF29Trade/SigningChris Drury
Hájek, LiborLD24TradeJeff Gorton
Halák, JaroslavG37SigningChris Drury
Hunt, DrydenF27SigningChris Drury
Jones, ZacharyLD21DraftJeff Gorton
Kakko, KaapoRW21DraftJeff Gorton
Vitali KravtsovRW22DraftJeff Gorton
Kreider, ChrisLW31DraftGlen Sather
Lafrenière, AlexisF20DraftJeff Gorton
Lindgren, RyanLD24TradeJeff Gorton
Miller, K’AndreLD22Trade/DraftJeff Gorton
Panarin, ArtemiLW30SigningJeff Gorton
Reaves, RyanRW35TradeChris Drury
Schneider, BradenRD20Trade/DraftJeff Gorton
Shesterkin, IgorG26DraftJeff Gorton
Trocheck, Vincent29SigningChris Drury
Trouba, JacobRD28TradeJeff Gorton
Zibanejad, MikaC29TradeJeff Gorton
NYR Roster by acquiring GM

Jeff Gorton set the Rangers up for success

Jeff Gorton Kaapo Kakko JD
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Gorton became the Blueshirts full-time GM in 2015 and is credited for making some of the franchises best moves.

His greatest transaction was trading for Mika Zibanejad and a 2nd round pick in exchange for Derick Brassard and a 7th round pick. Gorton also acquired Adam Fox for two 2nd round draft picks and pried Ryan Lindgren from the Bruins in the Rick Nash deal

That’s a number one center, a Norris Trophy winner, and his rock-steady partner right in three deals. But Gorton also drafted 8 of the 16 players mentioned including Igor Shesterkin, who is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.

One of the most successful Rangers free agent signings in history is Artemi Panarin and Gorton is responsible for that as well.

Throw in some shrewd draft day deals to move up for K’Andre Miller (2018) and Braden Schneider (2020) as extra icing on the cake. Draft Lottery luck aside, should Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko realize their full potential, he should have a monument built outside the Garden to honor all these moves.

Of course, some credit needs to go to the scouting department which was led by Gordie Clark for many years. With help from Nick Bobrov as head of European Scouting, they restocked an empty Rangers prospect cupboard.

Another instrumental figure was John Rosasco, who joined the organization in 1987. He worked his way from intern to VP of PR and Player Recruitment (2007 – 2021), playing a key supporting role in many of the Rangers big trades and signings over the years.

All of them are no longer with the club after the change in management that began with the dismissals of John Davidson and Gorton. However, every single member of the previous staff is owed a thank you for the current state of the Rangers.

Chris Drury needs to finish the job

First things first, Drury also deserves credit for the overall roster having been with the organization since 2015. Just one year later, he was promoted to assistant general manager before assuming the role of president and general manager in 2021.

A look at the Rangers projected lineup shows 7 players directly attributed to Chris Drury.

Since Drury has only been in charge for two full offseasons, his draft picks won’t likely be on the team this season. Brennan Othmann, selected in the first round of 2021 stands the best chance to make it in the near future.

Still, Drury has been setup nicely by the prior management group and needs to finish the job. No easy thing, but so far he’s getting it done.

He started putting his stamp on the team by bringing in head coach Gerard Gallant, which is probably his most significant move to date. He followed that by acquiring Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Reaves in his first summer at the helm. Their additions automatically made the locker-room better and the Rangers became harder to play against.

Now he’s starting to make the bigger moves by signing free agent center Vincent Trocheck to replace Ryan Strome, who was another solid Gorton acquisition.

At the last trade deadline, Drury did a fantastic job bringing in key pieces like Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, Tyler Motte, and Justin Braun. Not a single roster player or prospect was moved to acquire them, just draft picks with only one being a first-round selection. That is excellent work for any GM in the game today.

What big deadline moves does Drury have planned this season? Could it be Patrick Kane? Whomever he brings in, the foundation for success has already been laid. It’s all about the tweaks which is completely in his hands.

As Training Camp officially opens today, it signals the start of a new season. This will be Drury’s second at the controls and he has only one goal.

“I know how important this job is to our fans and the the organization,” Drury said. “I go to bed at night thinking of them and how badly I want to deliver them a Stanley Cup.”

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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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