It’s official, John Davidson will succeed Glen Sather as President of Hockey Operations of the New York Rangers. This was the worst kept secret in Rangerland since the Rick Nash trade.
The news broke one day after Jim Schoenfeld stepped down as Sr. VP and Assistant GM. Sather is gone, Schoenfeld is gone, and that represents over three decades of Rangers management. Schoenfeld was a Sather hire, and with a new President coming in, there’s the potential for more shakeup.
Doug Risebrough, currently a consultant with the Rangers, was with Sather in Edmonton in the late 90’s, then joined Sather in New York in 2009 after he was let go as Minnesota’s GM. He’s another Sather guy who could be on his way out. Ditto Mike Barnett, currently a Senior Advisor to the President, is another Sather guy. Those two are the easy low hanging fruit though. The smart money is on both of them leaving the organization at some point soon.
What does this mean for little known Jim Sullivan, who was hired in 2014 and is currently “Director, Player Care & Development/Analytics and Hockey Technology” on the Blueshirts’ website. Does JD overhaul the entire “analytics department” (in quotes because we know they don’t have one)?
How about this though – Gordie Clark has been with the team since 2002 when he was hired as a scout. Glen Sather has pushed Clark through the ranks and he is now the Director of Player Personnel. He has two years left on his deal (I think), and is close to retirement age. Does JD look to get his own scouting staff in? If so, what does that mean for Nikolai Bobrov and Kevin Maxwell (Directors of Euro Scouting and Scouting, respectively)? Is a scouting department overhaul coming?
What about Jeff Gorton, who has been at the helm of this rebuild since announcing it before the end of the 2018 season? Gorton has done a masterful job at acquiring assets to re-stock the bare cupboards in New York, and is in prime position to take the Rangers out of rebuild and into competing again. President’s usually like to have their own guys.
We could be seeing just the tip of the iceberg in what could be a major overhaul of the front office. Risebrough and Barnett are likely heading out relatively soon. There’s always the possibility of a slow turnover to ease the transition of the new staff, but the familiar faces we have seen in the front office for years could become not-so-familiar sooner rather than later.