After the dust settled following a week of chaos, the New York Rangers have an optimistic outlook for the future. According to the new leadership, they can make a playoff run next season.
It was a time where the team found themselves being spun silly as if the Tasmanian Devil himself was running circles around them. Starting with Tuesday night’s scrum that saw Tom Wilson throwing star Artemi Panarin around like he was a rag doll. Followed by Wilson receiving a $5000 slap on the wrist for his crazy antics on the ice. Only to have the Rangers make a statement that personally hit the head of the NHL Safety division as “unfit” lead to a $250,000 fine.
A crazy 72 hours in the most chaotic season in team history
The Devil wasn’t done kicking up more dust and debris on the Blueshirts yet.
On Wednesday, all hell broke loose! That’s when the announcement came that the owner, James Dolan decided to end the relationship with president, John Davidson, and GM Jeff Gorton. He then promoted Chris Drury to be the new president and GM.
Oh! There was also a hockey game on that night that saw a face-off face-off opening line brawl. The first period would finish with over 100 minutes in penalties when and subsequently the suspension of Pave Buchnevich for a high stick to Anthony Mantha’s face.
The club and its fan base haven’t seen such craziness like this since Phil Esposito fired Michel Bergeron days before the conclusion of the 1989 season.
Of course, the dismissal of JD and Gorton was the most shocking. Especially since the season will be over Saturday afternoon. Jim Dolan had a valid point of why he made the move Wednesday instead of the day after the season ends.
“Exit meetings with the players are the cornerstone of the entire summer, and it was critical to have Chris in place for those,” he explained to Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
Chris Drury is the right man to the take the next steps
With that, the Blueshirts now need to move forward with Drury leading the team. It’s a tough task to take on, but one Drury is prepared to do.
He will have to make some tough decision’s immediately beginning with the future of head coach David Quinn. Drury was part of the committee that hired Quinn three seasons ago. He pushed for Quinn then, but now he will have to decide if he hasn’t done so already, if Quinn is the man to being the team to the next level. Dolan stated in his interview with the Post that it is “It’s totally Chris’ call.”
He then will have to address the Seattle Expansion Draft, what to do with castaway defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, free agency, and the pending free agents.
Drury has been with the organization serving in different capacities and has a strong resume indicating he is up to the challenge.
He is 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.
Yet what he has done as an assistant GM and executive previously is extremely different than the task at hand.
Drury was confident during his first zoom press conference on Thursday morning. He said the right things, thanked, and appreciated all he learned from Gorton during their time together. His ultimate goal, not surprisingly, is to bring the Stanley Cup back to New York City.
Time will tell if this was the right move
Only time will tell if this move works out for Dolan and the organization. Should next season be successful, most will not remember how things went down over the last 48 hours. Winning tends to take away memories of what happened previously. For Drury, he is replacing a very good GM in Gorton, yet it will be harder for fans to forget how Davidson was tossed aside after only being the president for two short seasons because of the COVID pandemic.
He has plenty of tools at his disposal in the executive room with him in Glen Sather. He has a roster filled with star players and kids who are willing to do whatever it takes to win a championship.
This offseason will be the most critical for him during any time he was playing the game or assisting the organization from behind the desk.
The rebuild is officially over, time for the players, coaches, and a hurting organization to take the next step. Broadway is painfully waiting for its hockey team to start winning games with Drury now guiding this team.