Rangers GM Chris Drury’s first big day on the job off to a rough start

By Forever Blueshirts
jeff gorton chris drury
Mar 17, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury works the bench during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. Due to the NHL COVID-10 protocol, the Rangers coaching staff were not available for tonights game. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Drury has been the New York Rangers President and General Manager for all of 80 days since taking over on May 5th. Although very quiet and mild mannered, there’s a lot of evidence early on that he has a clear vision with no fear of executing it.

He’s already made some bold moves in firing David Quinn and hiring Gerard Gallant. Drury made it clear that the lineup was not tough enough to play against, and is going all out to change that. That’s why he went hard after forward Barclay Goodrow and signed him to a big 6 year deal worth $3.6 annually.

That contract had some in the hockey community turning up their noses, saying it was too much for a glorified fourth line player. I disagree, and Goodrow is likely to play a similar third line role as he did in Tampa here.

However; eyebrows all over the league were raised on Drury’s first big day on the job. On Draft Day 1, he traded fan and team favorite Pavel Buchnevich yesterday.

Chris Drury’s moves are raising questions

In exchange for the team’s fourth leading scorer, he acquired a fourth line winger with some question marks. Sammy Blais has some upside and is a year younger than the 26 year-old Buchnevich. He’s all been in Blues’ head coach Craig Berube’s dog house and has had some conditioning issues.

chris drury toughness
Feb 12, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon (55) and New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) fight in the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Pool Photos-USA TODAY Sports

“There’s only so much cap space to go around, so much ice time to go around,” Drury said about trading Buchnevich. With cost controlled players like Vitali Kravtsov and Kaapo Kakko in the fold, it appears they are better options then doling out maybe $6 million for 5-7 years on Buchnevich.

In the process of answering the question, he may have hinted that Barclay Goodrow is likely going to start on the third line as a right wing. Which comes back to the question of what Drury is thinking about doing at center. Thus far, Filip Chytil has yet to show he can play center well enough.

What is Chris Drury’s next move?

So what is Chris Drury going to do next? Trade Mika Zibanejad? It’s unlikely, but I use that to describe just how driven Drury seems to be about changing the style and composition of this team.

The Rangers, and maybe a handful of teams tried to work with Buffalo for Jack Eichel. As teams rumored to be in on him all made their first round picks, it was obvious there was no trade coming. Elliotte Friedman came on during the broadcast and said that teams fell out because the price is still “too high”.

Will that change today? At this point, especially if Drury is looking at Barclay Goodrow as his third line right wing, he needs to get the deep deeper down the middle. Eichel, or another center like Evgeny Kuznetsov would be considered an offensive upgrade over Ryan Strome.

However, it doesn’t answer the question about 3C? He can’t possibly see Chytil as the answer there and winger turned center Morgan Barron is still a work in progress. Is he going to overpay in free agency to reunite Blake Coleman with Goodrow?

Like I said, right now Drury’s moves are raising more questions than answers. Today, starts Day 81 of his tenure and the second big day on the job. Rounds 2-7 of the Draft begins with the Rangers holding no second round pick. Will they move up and try to nab center Aatu Raty?

Or is another unforeseen move coming.

Rangers draft another winger

The Rangers also had pick 16 in the draft, even though they actually selected 15 due to the Coyotes having forfeit pick 11 in a Combine violation last year. When asked if he tried to trade the pick, Drury responded they did but they never came close to getting it done.

There was also word from Rick Carpiniello that the Rangers were eyeing a goalie if they kept the pick. That’s when Red Wings’ GM went to work and traded with the Stars to jump up and draft 6-6′ goaltender Sebastian Cossa.

With that move off the table, Drury was going to pick a center right? Alexis Lafrenière’s center from Rimouski, Zachary Bolduc was available. How about big pivot Chaz Lucius? Or the Russian kid that raised eyebrows in Fedor Svechkov?

Nope, Drury drafted another winger in Brennan Othmann. Meanwhile, the three centers I mentioned all went in successive order after the Rangers selection.

After being drafted, Othmann said he styles his game after Matthew Tkachuk, and likes to stick up for his teammates. That’s great, but the Rangers really needed to strengthen themselves down the middle today and in the future.

One thing seems crystal clear. Drury is really into this toughness thing.

Draft Day One is done and Jack Eichel is still a Sabre

The long anticipated trade of Jack Eichel did not take place last night. According to Elliotte Friedman, the price remains too high causing teams to back out. However; it appears Sam Reinhart will be joining the Florida Panthers pending a trade call this morning. Read more.