Rangers to make another run at Jack Eichel as rumors about a John Tortorella return grows

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Feb 28, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) on the ice for warmups before a game against the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

James Dolan essentially screamed to the hockey world that the rebuild is over. In his only interview since dismissing John Davidson and Jeff Gorton, he basically said he doesn’t like his hockey team. While he praised their work for amassing all this young talent, he claimed something was missing. Usually with Dolan that means more marquee names and bringing in those with proven track records. Patience may not be his biggest strong suit.

So now the New York Rangers appear to be back to heading to their old ways. It’s time to go shopping and get some big toys on Broadway again.

New York Rangers and Jack Eichel preordained destiny?

This is the one trade rumor in the NHL that will not die down or go away. Jack Eichel and the Rangers almost feels like preordained destiny. Even Johnny Gaudreau and the Flyers settled down after awhile.

If you try to surmise everything that James Dolan said in the wake of the dismissals, his patience had run out and he wants a winner now. When the news broke, I had a feeling one of the reasons why a change was made had to do with the failure to land Jack Eichel before the season. Another is brewing that the Blueshirts failed to land a player with term at the deadline. Whatever the cause, it’s all in for Eichel this summer.

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Remember, Elliotte Friedman noted that the Rangers had a “reasonable offer” that obviously wasn’t good enough. That was probably a major factor in Dolan’s decisioning. Now those Jack Eichel talks are back with Friedman noting that the plan even before the change was to make another pitch. With Chris Drury at the helm, it sounds like it will be more aggressive.

“They were in on Eichel before this,” Friedman began. “It’s not like they were afraid to go after Eichel, they made the Sabres an offer on Eichel in the offseason. It’s one that at least made the Sabres think before deciding they weren’t ready to make the move yet. I don’t think Chris Drury will be any more or less inclined to make a move for Eichel as the organization is already prepared to do that.”

The Return of John Tortorella

Let’s first note that David Quinn has not been relieved of his duties yet, but almost unanimously around the rumor mill he’s expected to go. On a recent episode of Real Kyper at Noon, Nick Kypreos said he heard whispers that Mike Babcock may be a name considered for the next Rangers head coach. It sounds like Babcock really wants to get back in the NHL and could be lobbying hard to get his name under consideration.

Also during the show, Kypreos’ cohost Doug Maclean heard a name I did as well. John Tortorella’s contract will expire after the Blue Jackets next game and James Dolan absolutely loves him. Matter of fact, Dolan responded to a question about Torts just months after his firing in NY that almost sounded like a love letter.

I miss John Tortorella. I’d visit Torts before a game and we would trade barbs for 10 minutes, he’d tell me about his [lousy] cable TV service and I’d be sitting there saying, “You can’t clear the puck out of your zone, what the hell’s wrong with you?” and he’d strike back and then play the game and I miss that. I’m developing a relationship with Alain [Vigneault] and he’s also a good guy, but Torts and I had a special relationship. It was fun for me. He banned me from the locker room for a while, all in fun. I miss that.

NY Post
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There’s likely to be a myriad of coaches interviewed if indeed they part ways with David Quinn, which could happen as early as today I’m told. Both Tortorella and Babcock would be candidates, as could Gerard Gallant and Claude Julien. Another name that may get an interview is Patrick Roy, an old teammate of Drury’s in Colorado.

However, all that’s happened has been set into motion thanks to James Dolan’s desire to change the culture. A culture he claims was missing that winning attitude. While the decision’s are said to be completely in Drury’s hands there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be Tortorella’s job again.

Drury also has good history with Torts and a mutual respect. During Torts’ first few years at the helm in NY it was Drury that was his captain before injury forced him to retire. They both have a desire to win it all on Broadway and the reunion that dates back almost 20 years is in the making.

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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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