Looking at potential fallout from hiring JD, and the possible front office overhaul

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.

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31 thoughts on “Looking at potential fallout from hiring JD, and the possible front office overhaul

  • May 18, 2019 at 10:04 am

    I would expect a fairly substantial shake up will be coming, but I think JD will give himself a little bit of time to evaluate the situation. I can’t see JG’s or DQ’s head on the chopping block, but beyond that I’d be feeling a lot less secure. One thing he MUST do is address the dumpster fire in Hartford. Our prospects need a better environment to develop in, with a top notch coach and staff who are attuned with what JG and DQ are doing.

    • May 18, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Hartford sucks because Gordie drafts Euros that stay over in Europe

      • May 20, 2019 at 12:30 pm

        The free agent signings have been the ones to go back to Europe, not the draft picks. The picks have been coming over. (Buch, Hajek, Kravstov, Rykov,)
        Nick Jensen went back, but he was an extra piece from a trade.

  • May 18, 2019 at 10:04 am

    Gorton stays….and then get rid of every last one of the rest. Give Gorton full control of the scouting …Word is Ruff might on his way out too

  • May 18, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Mike Barnett was Gretzky’s agent IIRC, wouldn’t be the worst guy to keep around unless he advocated for Kovalchuk.

    The only time JR and Riesbourough would’ve had time together would be GM meetings or maybe some Team Canada stuff.

    It’s not like the need to take a wrecking ball to things, but like I wrote in a prior thread, the player tracking data probably is going to need *less* analysts, not more, due to the automation of process.

    The video coach & advance scouts concepts going to change drastically. Breakouts, PP, PK and defensive structure analysis for both the Rangers & their opponents are going to become so automated that the advance scout roles are going to changed, be reduced and even RE-deployed to the amateur side.

    Video coaches are going to be much more important and easier/harder.

    Easier because the data will draw out the breakouts and suss out tendencies and variants not only by team, but by line, forechecking scheme, you name it.

    The hard part is distilling that avalanche of data into digestible bits for the coaches, players and front office staff when on the trade front.

    Having a corpus of knowledge amongst the front office used to be important(and still will be) but how that corpus is used will be drastically changed.

    • May 18, 2019 at 10:06 am

      JD, JR, whatever.

    • May 18, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Must be getting close to all the usual suspects back, multiple thumbs down with zero counter arguments.

      • May 18, 2019 at 11:36 am

        Its the banter folk….they hate common sense

  • May 18, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Relax people, there won’t be a major shake up here. Sather didn’t step down voluntarily to just have JD come in and turn over his apple cart. Sure there will be some peripheral casualties but Gorton and Clarke are probably very safe for the time being.

    • May 18, 2019 at 11:31 am

      Even if Clarke is Sathers BFF…with his drafting record…how do conclude Clarke as very safe with a new Administration coming in?

      • May 18, 2019 at 11:41 am

        Of late he seems to be doing a good job, now that he actually has picks to work with …

        • May 18, 2019 at 12:10 pm

          Lias was an awful pick…I hope Chytil is legit. I surmise 2018 draft Gorton took the ball away from him…..Gordies record is miserable….particularly 1st rounders….Everyone should have gotten fired after the Mclrath pick

          • May 18, 2019 at 3:11 pm

            I guess Lias is good….and we didnt need Fowler or Tarasenko…

    • May 18, 2019 at 11:34 am

      “Relax people, there won’t be a major shake up here.”

      #1. All Hartford coaches relieved of their duties.
      #2. Sather, a 20 year employee steps down.
      #3. Schoenfeld, an almost 20 year employee retires.

      What do you call that? Already, my friend?

      The only thing saving Clark and the current scouts right now is that they are so close to the draft that making changes now may not make sense.

      Except for one thing, JD is already “in the game” so to speak, continuing on his role, just with another team, so he may say “adios” to guys like Clark and his scouts.

      I, for one, would not lose sleep over it, quite honestly.

      • May 18, 2019 at 11:43 am

        All before JD took the job … but let’s get one thing clear here and now, the GM has the final say on drafting and not the President. If you think JD knows what’s going on past the first 4-5 players in the draft you’re fooling yourself. This is why you have scouting departments.

        • May 18, 2019 at 11:49 am

          Oh, Gorton is not going anywhere, but Clark? I’m not so sure that he’s safe, nor the scouts either.

          Maybe they stay this year because of the timing, but this is also an important draft for the Rangers (though the first pick is etched in stone) and JD may want “his guys” running it.

          • May 18, 2019 at 12:41 pm

            No, there isn’t a team out there that will allow their scouts to leave their team prior to the draft. I could see him trying to change a few scouts here and there afterwards … and no, I think Clarke is quite safe after the perception of the job he did in the last 2 drafts — again, the first couple of drafts where we’ve actually had draft picks. Besides, JD will need some time to evaluate the people in the organization.

            • May 18, 2019 at 12:44 pm

              The Raiders dismissed their whole draft staff 2 days before the NFL draft.

              I’m not saying that’s not irrational and stupid, but you said it never happens. Well, it happened, lol.

              • May 18, 2019 at 2:10 pm

                Not in hockey … and what I said is that no team out there would ALLOW their scouts to leave … I didn’t say anything about whether a team would fire some scouts.

              • May 18, 2019 at 2:16 pm

                As you said, “relax,” just busting your chops. 🙂

              • May 18, 2019 at 3:09 pm

                That Matt guy doesnt watch hockey Tony

              • May 18, 2019 at 3:59 pm

                Consider one chop broken. 😉

              • May 18, 2019 at 4:08 pm


              • May 18, 2019 at 7:35 pm

                The Raiders sent them home before the draft as that place leaked like the Titanic.

                Not fired, however.

  • May 18, 2019 at 11:35 am

    I hope JD will make the coaches accountable. If you can’t set an appropriate line or do the basics, you should not be a coach. Who the hell needs a teaching coach? You can not teach talent. You can only put them in position to succeed or fail.

    • May 18, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      I believe much of the bad decisions were Sathers, including Hartford, whatever occurred there probably falls on Shoenfield, but there’s Sathers inactivity. The bad contracts and trades, and misuse of players, draft picks, and coaches, again Sather, because Sather allowed it. So, the hiring of JD will only help if Sather doesn’t get in his way.

  • May 18, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Can’t they be both? lol You can’t teach talent but you can teach THE talent you have how to best utilize their talents.

    • May 18, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      You have a fast car but you can’t drive. The coach did not utilize the talent when you put them on the 4th line.

  • May 18, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    I wouldn’t pin any medals on Gorton yet. He has brought in a lot of bodies who look to have promise, but we haven’t seen much in the way of results. I am not saying things won’t turn out well, maybe even extremely well, but it is too early to count chickens.

  • May 19, 2019 at 9:28 am

    I can see many more moves made after the dust settles. JD will not come in and run rough shot over people, he’s too smart for that. He will evaluate the situation, see who can come in and work well with the staff, and then make whatever necessary moves to rebuild the front office, like we are rebuilding the team. Time is on our side folks, don’t panic!!!!!!11

    • May 19, 2019 at 9:37 am

      Gorton could be the only one left standing and I have no problem with that……. but magic is needed if we want to sign Panarin and Trouba…. Karlsson rumors are bull crap….

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