State of the Rangers

On Jim Dolan and Glen Sather’s role in Rangers operations

With exit interviews continuing into their second day, talk, surprisingly, has been less about what the players have said and more on the front office. With good reason, there are still questions about what role Glen Sather and Jim Dolan will have on Rangers operations. As per usual, I have thoughts.

1. The common concern is that both Sather and Dolan will bend Chris Drury to their will. This means face punchers, dealing skill for an antiquated definition of grit, and a return the the early 2000’s Rangers that Sather ran. Those concerns certainly have some merit, but I think they, like the old definition of hockey grit, have some deep flaws and are based on fears, not reality.

2. First regarding Sather, I think his role is way overblown. He’s been an advisor for the Rangers since he stepped down as GM some years ago. His biggest flaw, if he does have any “pull” with Drury, is face punchers. There are few and far between left in the NHL. The Donald Brashear’s don’t exist anymore. That’s good news for the Rangers. Plus, on a total aside, even if Sather has his way, there are worse things in life than a 14F puncher. The difference is that David Quinn doesn’t really like to play the punchy-only guys.

3. Regarding Dolan, we are terrified because of what happened with the Knicks for the last 20 years or so. Dolan meddled, and look what happened. The difference this year is that the Knicks made high profile analytics hires. And the Knicks are all of a sudden relevant this season. Given their success, it is likely Dolan’s only true input will be to approve an augmented analytics group for the Rangers.

4. You read that right, I don’t think that Sather or Dolan will have a true input into how Chris Drury runs the Rangers.

This article from Larry Brooks reassured me a bit. Drury isn’t a puppet, and he won’t be controlled by people who haven’t made a hockey decision in years.

5. What also reassured me a bit is how he has addressed questions about how he is approaching this offseason. He was managing the exit interviews, and was very non-committal on any decisions. That included David Quinn’s future as head coach. He’s looking at all avenues to improve this team.

6. Which circles back to the role Glen Sather and Jim Dolan will have with the Rangers operations. From the top down, Dolan will likely just be an approver of a process and a few hires. Sather will be a guide, but not the determining force or decision maker. This is Chris Drury’s team.

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  • Been saying this from the moment JD/JG git fired. Sather isn’t the same pre-lockout Sather that we remember (those of us with long memories). He’s been involved in the last 5-6 years, just not visually … and I suspect within a few months he will once again disappear back into the woodwork … same for Dolan. I judge Dolan based on his track record with the Rangers, not the Knicks — he’s been hands off with the Rangers and will continue to be so, just give him some playoff games and he’ll be quiet/happy … something the Knicks couldn’t do.

    • They couldn’t do it because of all his meddling who is up a virus to the team he killed more years of that team than anything or anyone

  • Does anyone actually have any kind of feel for Drury? Personally I have not been thrilled with the direction Hartford has taken really since 2013 and my impression was that this was his main contribution over the years. Obviously he had to stay within the general parameters of the organization though. Are people aware of good stuff about him?

    • I believe his involvement with Hartford was AFTER 2013, by a few years. Still, nothing great — except when he had Shesty there for half a year.

      He’s been the ass. GM therefore we can speculate that he has been somewhat involved in prior negotiations (to some extent, it’s probably more like sit in and handle some day to day stuff with agents). He’s also been from what I remember a liaison with all the college prospects and did some scouting … a bit of a roving troubleshooter, evaluator, etc. In other words, a jack of all trades. Bottom line he’s well-versed in ALL aspects of the organization and running of the team. At least he knows how everything “works”.

    • I think that ship has sailed. And, if there really were issues in the locker room with Tony D vs. his teammates, why re-visit that again??

    • No, I believe that was already stated by Drury himself … that he won’t go back on the decision made by the prior “admin”.

  • Exactly what did the Rangers win under Sather? Oh thats right, nothing. Sather and Dolan are the last people Drury should be taking advice from.

  • I believe in dru.

    Wish list:
    Bring back tony d.
    Add balls to bottom six and veteran leadership.
    Package Georgiev in a deal, sign lunk as shest backup for pennies on the dollar.

  • I really do not understand this constant theme here that grit mean goons and face-punchers. Goons are antiquated, but grit surely isn’t and is still a main ingredient for successful teams (especially in the Playoffs).

    I don’t agree with Dolan much. But these guys DID get pushed around right when it mattered most. It’s fine if you can just beat them on the scoreboard. But we got shutout in back-to-back games. So they didn’t push back in any meaningful way, in the most critical games, during a Playoff push, and against their NY rival. And then continued to get pushed around by WSH a couple of days later. If Dolan was concerned before that week, then it was glaringly obvious vs the Isles and Caps.

    Something had to change. They’re a soft team that plays with each other much more than they play FOR each other.

    • Agreed … but we have to also note the fact that they were without Trouba, Lindgren and Kreider … the first two are arguably our MOST physical players … and say what you want about Kreider, but he can be physical when he wants to be. Do we need more players like that, absolutely … but on the fringe (4th line).

    • They got pushed around when our three grittiest players were out hurt. Not surprising with the youngest team in the league. An expected outcome of a rebuild.

      • …and I think that’s part of the problem. They were down 3 players and that was it. There was no one else to turn to. And that’s both in NY and in Hartford. Kudos to the boys for stepping up after the fact. But it’s an organizational issue if you lose all your edge when 3 guys go down.

        Idk, the more I keep thinking about all this, the more it makes sense. I just didn’t like the JD part, and still don’t.

  • While the aforementioned lack of a deep “Hartford scorecard” is a valid point, Drury’s other accomplishments lead to think that he’s no lapdog.

  • I have a feeling Georgiev gets traded and not much is coming back, maybe 2nd rounder +. After last season I thought we would get a late 1st rounder, but his save% keeps sliding each season.

    • Unless you have an all-star goalie, top 10, never getting more than a 2nd unless the other team lost their platoon the 1st month of the season. This is why the Rangers reach for Lindbom was so egregious. You would have to crush the pick to create value, the likely result is a sideways move with a good chance is value destruction.

      Georgiev would be lucky to be worth a 3rd after this season, which is still value creation.

  • Sather worries me. His tenure in NY was an unmitigated disaster. He wasted top 10 picks on Dylan McIlraith, Hugh Jessiman, Al Montoya, etc and threw $$$ for busts like Bobby Holik and Wade Redden. I see nothing that he’s done except hire Jeff Gorton that I would say was a positive (OK, drafting Kreider and Lundqvist, but Henrik was lucky cos we got him in the SIXTH round). If he’s involved we are in trouble.

    • A lot of that is ANCIENT history.

      … and have you forgotten him drafting Callahan, Hagelin, Stepan, Dubinsky, getting Jagr, getting Gaborik, getting Nash, fleecing the Canadiens for McD, drafting Miller, stealing Hayes, etc.?

    • How about Sather’s signings of Wade Redden, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, and Brad Richards? Every one of these signings ranged from disappointing to terrible, every one of these four underachieved during their Ranger contract, and Redden was completely washed-up. Any one of these signings were far worse than Sather’s good move of hiring Gorton.

      • Perk, it’s a mixed bag … he did some good, he did some bad. Overall though he set us up for almost a decade of good play — and the Scott Gomez signing was a lemon with which we made a great lemonade (McD). Re: Drury … injuries really affected his usefulness. Redden — inexcusable, yes … Richards, kind of meh for 2 seasons then he started falling off a cliff.

        • My response was to Just a fan’s ludicrous remark that hiring Gorton was Sather’s worst move as GM. Clearly it was not. I’m big on the idea that a successful GM hits on about 60% (or higher) of their transactions. Just a Fan seems to ignore failures and chase an impossible rate of success for general managers.

          Going 0-for-4 on big ticket free agent signings should sign any GM’s firing papers. 3 of the 4 contracts I mentioned were buyouts too, that pretty much says it all.

  • Unfortunately Dave, in today’s NHL a face puncher is a requirement for every club. When their goon; rag dolls, beats up, intimidates or injuries our team players, our goon has to get their goon off the ice. That is the reality of the game. For too long fans have been told the game has changed, that it has evolved. It hasn’t.

    • Let sight the facts here. Dave ignores the fact that in this shortened season there were OVER 300 fist fights in the NHL. The days of fighting are far from over. Your reply Dave?

  • “Approver of the process”. Not quite how it played out with the Knicks. He got deeply involved when his crappy advisors got in his ear.

  • I feel the decision to remove JG and JD was made prior to the Wilson game.

    What Wilson did and how Quinn’s team reacted was another showing of things but I don’t think the firings means they wanted face punchers….

  • Good take and read, Dave. I don’t think Dolan or Sather will be interfering with the team. Drury isn’t just the GM. He’s the President of Operations as well. I think it’s his team to run. If he needs to bounce something off of Sather he will, but it won’t be like Sather is running the team from behind the curtain. Don’t forget Sather is no spring chicken. He’s getting up there in years.

    Dave, have you heard/verified anything about Kevin Weeks being hired by the Rangers in some management capacity? I would love to have Weeks in the organization.

  • First thing, If Truba would agree, trade him for a brute. He is a finesse defensemen now being asked to play stopper. That puts him out of character and Rangers have enough play makers coming. And he is not the powerplay QB Gorton thought he was.

  • You say you know Dolan but that sure as hell doesn’t sound like him and if say that gets his fingers in there he goes a few first round picks on the team and future ones to get over the hill useless players that’s what he did for years that would put us in a hole for years so maybe you’re not afraid of this but I certainly am going to moron thinks he knows everything that’s a problem

  • Sather and Dolan caused rebuild let someone else do the dirty work and now going to take another shot at being heroes. Sucks being stuck with these two. Had Hope good feeling with JD here. Now no hope.

  • Any sports franchise looks for results and they are that David Quinn was the first coach in Rangers history with 200 or more games that didn’t make the playoffs.
    As for Dave’s remark about the face punchers, I agree that having a player with only that single quality is a waste BUT I can name 20 NHL players in today’s game that fit that description. The difference is that most of them can also play the game.

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