New York Rangers ownership says “a change in leadership” was needed for team to succeed

The New York Rangers have made the dismissals of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton official. In a statement released today that reads in part:

The New York Rangers announced today that team President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton are leaving the organization, and Associate General Manager Chris Drury has been promoted to President and General Manager, effective immediately. Senior Advisor Glen Sather will work with Drury during this transition and continue to consult with the team.

New York Rangers make management changes official

”We want to thank JD and Jeff for their contributions to the organization. They are both great hockey professionals who worked hard for the Rangers, however, in order for the team to succeed in the manner our fans deserve, there needs to be a change in leadership,” owner James L. Dolan said in the statement. “Chris is a very sought-after executive and a strong leader, who has proven himself to be one of the top young minds in hockey. We are confident he will effectively guide the team to ensure the long-term success we promised Rangers fans.”

Once again, this has been a stunning 48 hours with regards to the New York Rangers. According to Elliotte Friedman he’s phone has been buzzing like crazy with insane reactions from around the league.

Wow, wow, wow. A lot of “Holy $%&@“ from people around the league via text message. Less than 24 hours after issuing a stunning post-Tom Wilson statement that turned the hockey world on its ear, the New York Rangers did it again — firing president John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton.

Sportsnet

Chris Drury now in charge

new york rangers
Quinn and Drury (NHL/NYR)

The statement went on to layout Chris Drury’s track record which is impressive.

Currently in his sixth season as part of the Rangers front office, Drury rejoined the organization on September 4, 2015. After serving as the team’s Director of Player Development for the 2015-16 season, he was promoted to Assistant General Manager on September 2, 2016. Drury was promoted to Associate General Manager on February 5, 2021.

Drury has served as the General Manager for the Rangers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, since May 16, 2017. In 2019-20, after he helped assemble a new coaching staff in Hartford, the Wolf Pack posted a 31-20-6-5 record in 62 games. Hartford’s .589 points percentage in 2019-20 was the best the team posted since the 2014-15 season.

During his time working in the Rangers’ front office, Drury has also assisted in overseeing and evaluating all players at the collegiate level. In addition to his role with the Rangers, he has worked in an executive role at the international level. Drury served as the General Manager for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, was selected to serve in the same capacity for the 2020 IIHF World Championship and will serve in that role for the 2021 IIHF World Championship.

What comes next?

Although the relationship between Drury and David Quinn seems solid dating back to the college coach’s hiring in 2018, he could be the next domino to fall. The young head coach has done a solid job infusing the Rangers young prospects into the lineup and developing them. However, in his now three (albeit two were short) seasons his team has failed to make the playoffs. As of today, Quinn is 95-85-25 for his NHL career. A solid start but likely not good enough.

Here’s what I know for certain in speaking with team sources, the management group of JD and JG loved David Quinn. He had their full support, but that is gone now.

Again, if this all performance based it will be hard to replace your President and GM but not fire the coach. There will also be a number of highly qualified candidates available this offseason. Gerard Gallant comes to mind as does Claude Julien. Could there be a possible reunion with John Tortorella on the horizon? Chris Drury knows Torts well having played for him in New York from 2008 until his retirement in 2011 where he served as captain.

A wild 48 hours indeed. And there’s a game tonight too.