Roster Moves

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Jeff Gorton’s Rangers tenure

As part of the ten days of drama, Jeff Gorton was fired as GM of the Rangers last week. He had been GM since Glen Sather stepped down as GM of the Rangers in 2015. Gorton had been with the Rangers since 2007 as a scout. He was a scout for one year, followed by Director of Player Personnel for three years. He was then named Assistant GM in 2011. Jeff Gorton had a nearly six year tenure as GM of the Rangers, where his moves oversaw the fall and rebuild of the New York Rangers.

As an aside, I’m going from the official date of Gorton’s promotion on July 1, 2015. I know it’s a grey area of when he actually took over, but that’s the official date. For Gorton, that means he avoids that Carl Hagelin trade debacle. Good for him. I’m also not including draft picks, since that’s more on the scouts.

The Good

Mika Zibanejad and a 2nd for Derick Brassard

One of the best moves Gorton made with the Rangers was his fleecing of Ottawa for Mika Zibanejad. The Rangers gave up an aging Derick Brassard to get Zibanejad and a 2nd round pick. Yea he lucked into this a bit because Ottawa was just looking to save cash, but still the ability to get a second round pick in it was on Gorton. This was by far his best move, and there aren’t many cases against it.

Zibanejad has been everything expected and then some. It was the rare trade that almost every fan said “wow” in unison and all agreed that Gorton fleeced the Senators here.

Signing Michael Grabner

One thing the Rangers got very good at during Gorton’s tenure was the ability to find bargain bin forward free agents. Michael Grabner was the first of a few that worked out beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations. Grabner put up 52 goals in 135 games for the Rangers, before being dealt in the first fire sale for Yegor Rykov and a 2nd round pick.

Grabner was a joy to watch on the ice, and the Rangers arguably got his final good seasons before he fell off a cliff.

The Rick Nash trade

The 2018 trade deadline was the first for the rebuilding Rangers. After the letter, Gorton cleaned house. The big haul came from trading Rick Nash to Boston for Ryan Spooner, Ryan Lindgren, Matt Beleskey, a 1st round pick, and a 7th round pick. Even before the rest of the trade tree was established, this was considered a huge win for Gorton.

Spooner was viewed as a middle-six center who could at least be a viable stopgap, but the prize was the 1st round pick and Lindgren. We’ve seen what Lindgren has become. That first round pick was used, along with the 2nd round pick acquired for Grabner, to trade up for K’Andre Miller. Those two are currently a big part of the future of the Rangers.

Ryan Spooner for Ryan Strome

This trade was laughed off as a trade of Ryan’s when it was made. But wow has this changed over the course of two and a half seasons. Strome came to the Rangers with a hot shooting streak, putting up 18 goals and 33 points in 63 games. He followed that up by meshing with Artemiy Panarin to a career year (18-41-59). But he was a product of Panarin, right? That’s what I thought, at least.

This year Strome completely changed and perhaps had a true breakout season. Driving play without Panarin and completely overhauling his defensive game, Strome was a leader on this young Rangers team. In addition to the scoring line of nearly a point per game (14-35-49 in 56 games), Strome gave candid answers to difficult questions about the team, its direction, the Tom Wilson situation, and the current state of the team.

What a trade this turned out to be.

Signing Artemiy Panarin to an 7 year, $11.6 million

Panarin is Panarin. He’s been worth every penny and then some. The question is whether it’s worth it at the back end of the deal. But for now, he’s been outperforming the contract.

Adam Fox for a pair of 2nd round picks

Does anything else need to be said here?

The Bad

Signing and then buying out Kevin Shattenkirk

This whole sequence of moves by Gorton was just horrible all around for the Rangers. They traded Derek Stepan to free up space to sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a four year, $6.6 million deal. He took a hometown discount to play for his favorite team. The Rangers rewarded him by playing him with Ryan McDonagh for a whole 4 shifts and then punting him to the third pair and PP2.

They then bought him out after two years and a torn MCL to create room for Panarin. The Rangers took a $6 million cap hit this season, effectively punting this year, to make it happen.

This wasn’t necessarily on Gorton’s ability to sign him to a team friendly deal. This was about him being out of sync with Alain Vigneault. Given how the Keith Yandle trade went, he should have known that AV wasn’t going to use him properly. The torn MCL notwithstanding, the deployment from the start was a disconnect with his coach.

Eric Staal for a pair of 2nd round picks and Aleksi Saarela

This was just stupid. I think everyone said “why?” when this trade was made. The Rangers needed help on the blue line, and instead got Eric Staal for an ill advised playoff run on a deeply flawed team. Staal put up a whole six points in 20 games, and none in a five game demolition in the playoffs.

Luckily for the Rangers, Aleksi Saarela turned into nothing. At the time, though, he was one of their higher ranked prospects. Just goes to show you that even high ranked prospects can be busts.

Re-Signing and then trading Vlad Namestnikov

The whole McDonagh trade was a debacle, but this side trade was just laughable. At the time, re-signing Vlad Namestnikov to a two-year, $4 million deal was strange, but the Rangers needed bodies. When they no longer needed bodies, they traded him for Nick Ebert and a 2021 4th round pick. An unceremonious end for a pair of bad trades.

The Ugly

Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller for Namestnikov, Howden, Hajek, a 1st, and a 2nd

This is easily one of the worst moves of the Gorton era with the Rangers. Even at the time of the trade, this smelled like a bad one. One year later, the smell got worse. After watching both Brett Howden and Libor Hajek for three seasons, we can say without a doubt that this was the worst trade of the Jeff Gorton era.

Namestnikov, as mentioned above, was later shipped away for nothing. Howden and Hajek are objectively awful. The fact that Miller had to be “thrown in” so the Rangers could get Hajek just makes things worse.

The only saving grace is the Rangers used the 1st rounder on Nils Lundkvist. This trade is just awful all around.

Ryan Graves for Chris Bigras

Another trade that we all questioned when it was made, dealing Ryan Graves for 70 AHL games of Chris Bigras was stupid. I debated putting this into “The Bad” but the fact that Graves is playing significant and productive minutes for a Stanley Cup contender, while Bigras never played for the Rangers, turned this to the ugly category.

At the time of the trade, the Rangers were playing Rob O’Gara on the blue line. Rob O’Gara. Over Ryan Graves. There’s a lot of blame to go around on this one. The Rangers didn’t see a spot for Graves in the organization, so they wasted him. This was a terrible trade.

The Others

Stepan/Raanta for DeAngelo/7th overall

At first, this trade was pegged as one of a few bad moves by Gorton with the Rangers. They gave up peak value of both Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta for a defenseman with off-ice issues and the 7th overall pick. The consensus was that the Rangers should have gotten more.

Lias Andersson was a bust. The Rangers got two useful years out of Tony DeAngelo before he lost his mind. But they got out of the Stepan contract, which gave them the cap room for Shattenkirk, whose buyout paved the way for Panarin. Just weird all around.

Jacob Trouba contract

This is one that I’m neither for nor against. The trade for Jacob Trouba was fine. It’s the contract that draws the ire of many. At $8 million, he’s expected to be a top defenseman on the team. He’s been surpassed by Adam Fox, but not many wouldn’t be.

Trouba’s $8 million deal is probably an overpayment, but it’s not as large of an overpayment as you might think. He’s still productive and, given the right partner/situation, could be close to worth it. In the end, he’s a $5-$6 million defenseman making $8 million.

That said, it’s clear Trouba is viewed as a leader in the locker room. He’s the guy the team rallied around against the Devils. When he got injured, the team crumbled. That last one might be a stretch, but it does at least fit in the timeline of events.

Brady Skjei for a 1st round pick

At the time of the trade, Gorton made the decision to trade the $5 million defenseman so he could take a shot at the $4 million defenseman in Tony DeAngelo. This did not work out the way he had hoped. But clearing $5 million over the next three years does help the Rangers significantly in a flat cap era. They got a 1st rounder for it, which was fantastic.

Skjei was missed in the interim, especially in August 2020 during the “playoffs.” The left side of the blue line was in shambles that season. The Blueshirts recovered quickly with Lindgren’s development into captain material and K’Andre Miller’s strong first year though. At the time, this was a double-edged sword trade.

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  • Ranger are headed in the right direction and I thought JG was okay as a GM…..however watching the team get bullied by Isles and Caps without summoning Gerssten was the nail in the coffin…..for JG and JD…..Now as long as Dolan stays away we should be okay….

  • Good analysis, Dave. Like all GMs Gorton had his moments on both sides of the spectrum. I do believe his home run trades helped the team much more than his bad ones hurt the club. I liked him as a Rangers GM. The issue with his tenure was is he going to run out of time developing the rest of the team before his star players start to age out or price themselves off the team? Would he have addressed the need for grit this offseason via trade or draft? Nobody knows outside of MSG. Would it have been too late? Apparently so for Dolan.
    At first I was shocked like most fans, but handing over the reigns to Drury seems to signal that Dolan was debating the move for a while. If they ran out and hired some retread GM outside the org it would have painted this firing much differently. I hope Drury does well and the Rangers take the next step under his guidance.

    • Hayes as a rental and Pionk (whom we signed as a UFA) for Trouba and Lemieux. That’s still a pretty good trade any way you slice it, Trouba brings an element that Pionk doesn’t possess — we have Fox … and we had ADA, Pionk was redundant.

      • And I think Pionk is used much differently by Paul Maurice. He is their PP QB, and he is sheltered more in 5 on 5 scenarios. I think Maurice deserves a lot of credit turning Pionk into a valuable asset for the Jets. All I remember of Pionk as a Ranger was that one great end to end rush/goal and a ton of snow angels in our crease.

  • All trades have backstories, including not wanting to commit to an older player for a long, expensive contract. Gorton did okay via trades, but did quite well drafting prospects. We have a deep farm system and many NHL worthy players.

    If Gorton has too much of anything, I would say patience. He was not aligned with ownership when it came to making strides towards the playoffs. Gorton sitting tight at this years deadline was a mistake. We needed to add some talent and strength, and he did not pull the trigger.

    Jury is out on Drury. By July 30th we should have a good idea of what we are going into next season with. Let’s hope it is a playoff team.

  • Let’s face it, Panarin and Fox both fell in his lap as both were insistent on playing for the Rangers so there wasn’t much wizardry needed there.

    Besides not addressing the size/grit items in any meaningful way, JG was a victim of his own bad contracts, which leads the league in dead cap space.

    • More than half of the dead cap space this season came from Sather’s bought-out contracts for Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist.

    • What do you care about dead cap space? Did it hinder us this year? The only person that should care is Dolan who has to pay out the money.

      • yeah, $23mil in dead cap space… definitely couldn’t have used *that*
        are you high, sir?

      • It worked well for Kravs to spend the whole year in Russia … and Barron was served well in the AHL. Re: Fast … he was a goner, we could easily have afforded him but didn’t want to give him the “term” with all the young RWs we had both on the roster and in the pipeline. So yeah, no hindrance to speak of … making a mountain out of an ant hill.

  • Good stuff … my only quibbles would be the Namestnikov trade for a 4th should be “other” and the Stepan trade was more “good” than “bad” or even “other”. The 7th pick and ADA may not have been “great” value, but it was good value — they wanted to use that pick on Pettersson or Makar and according to the draft rankings they should have been able to. Also the Stepan deal is the age old adage of better to trade a player one year early rather than 1 year too late.

    • I would also add the trading of Skjei for a 1st rounder in the “good” category. Not only was Brady not living up to his contract, but with all the young D prospects coming up he would’ve played over them (cuz of his salary & not his performance) blocking Miller, Lundkvist, and others. The fact he got a 1st back was amazing.

      • Agreed, Skjei’s game was looking very bad over his last season and a half in NY. You might even say his game was skjei-ky. Seriously tho was glad to see him traded. Couldn’t handle top pair despite solid physical attributes. He also seemed panicky under forechecking pressure.

      • Was going to mention that, the pick was used in conjunction with a later pick to grab Schneider. Skjei showed so much promise that first year, scoring almost half a point a game … but it’s been all downhill for him after that.

    • Agreed!! I always say that. 1 year too early than late..
      That’s why it wouldn’t surprise me they will trade Zib!

      I also think they screwed up the Lemeiux trade by not addressing the grit that we lost.. Even though Pepe was a bonehead sometimes..
      Just my take.

      • It wouldn’t surprise me either, but Stepan’s top offensive performance with us came nowhere near what Mika produces. Stepan’s issue was his skating, effective while he was on the younger side but bound to degrade over time — but he was a tougher customer than people thought, will never forget the broken jaw v. Montreal … suffered in the 1st period, went on to play like 18 minutes … had surgery, missed one game and was right back at it.

        I think Mika will be more effective than Stepan as he ages, the question is whether he will age as a 1C or a 2C.

    • Think most of you are looking at this differently then I do. Did we have to move Mac? Honestly did we have to? Why couldn’t we have kept him if your argument is we did? He is still a very talented defender for Tampa.

      Same applies to skjei? Did we have to move him? Did we need to get younger or was his play ultimately a reflection not so much on him but the team’s structure. And just how piss poor of a team we had?

      It seems like everyone outside of myself feels this tear down had to be done. But I ask did it? What would we look like if we didn’t rip apart the whole team, but instead selectively made trades and signings to retool? Obviously Mac was good enough to win a cup in tampa? Obviously Girardi was good enough for Tampa to pounce on signing him at a super low rate cause he was a great defender just wasn’t for us at his price. Obviously Shattenkirk was a move tampa made to help them win the cup. Seems like an awful lot of players we had but overpaid helped tampa win.

      Miller was traded by tampa for a 1st to vancouver. Zuc is doing what zuc does in Minnie. Hayes while certainly not worth 7 million a year is still a number 2 center in this league. And what exactly do we still have for trading him?

      And what are we presently doing that has changed? We are still overpaying players on every contract we sign. Or should I say Gorton was still overpaying.

      What was the reason to sacrifice 2 or 3 more years of playoff contention? Was it that these players had missed their window of opportunity? Or was it we simply overpaid most of them and just could afford to keep them? I mean the answer to me is pretty obvious.

      • You’re glossing over a lot of these players you mentioned and painting too rosy a picture of them. Each one was not as productive as they once were, or was going to cost too much to keep, inhibiting the team to add the necessary pieces they needed to win.
        Mac is a great fit in Tampa because he’s like the third best defensemen on that team. He was the NYR’s best defenseman on the roster and was due a new contract. The fact is he had a very poor season (stat-wise) the year he was traded. If he stayed he would’ve signed for bigger money than he did with Tampa.
        Miller was a turnover machine when he was with NYR. For every goal he scored he made two passes in front of our own crease that ended up in the back of the net. Zucc was on the wrong side of 30. He’s getting paid over 5mil/yr now and scored 32pts this year.
        The Girardi and Shatty examples are about Tampa picking them off the scrap heap for 1 mil/year, while they were still getting paid by Rangers. Shatty was awful and injured his entire time with Rangers. I think Mac & Girardi were injured the last few years with them as well.
        Skjei is still not living up to his contract. 10 points this year for an offensive D-man at 5.5mil is bad. The rebuild was the right thing to do. That’s why most fans are cool with it.

        • I am glossing over the players I mentioned? Couldn’t you say the exact same thing for what Dave says in the article?

          There is no mention of the Zuc or Hayes trades?

          I am sorry but aren’t we paying a Lw 6.5 million for less production then those stats you put up about Zuc who is only making 5 million? Do you think Kreider is going to outscore Zuc at age 35? If you do I will take that wager.

          Just FYI …Mac is making 6.75 million til he is 36. He put up 4 goals and 8 assists in 50 games this year. Trouba is making 8 million a year til he is 32. 2 goals and 10 assists in 38 games. I know who I would rather have and at what price I would rather have them at. What about you?

          While that 1.25 million doesn’t seem like a lot …add that with say keeping Zuc for 5 million vs. Kreider and now you have 2.75 million in extra cap space which is essentially Lindgren’s contract. This is just a simple point of reference. But this happened across the board with every signing and every free agent acquisition Gorton and Sather made.

          So if you add all of that together across the whole roster you have 4 or 5 additional players you could afford to pay in cap space. That is the difference between a winning franchise and a loser. We would have the salary cap room to pay for a Bonino/Kessel when he is a free agent while still holding onto Zuc and Mac. We could turn around and off Elias Pettersson a offersheet contact and still have cap space remaining to sign additional pieces as Dave so noted.

          What I am trying to say is a lot of what gets written on here and other places was this rebuild was necessary. And I don’t see it the same way. We had some very talented players, but those players had the same issues we see today in our roster. They were underutilized and had piss poor coaching and overall leadership. And when placed in the proper position to succeed… they did.

          Was Stephan really a 1C …no way. He was a great 2C, but because of how our cap was managed he was forced out for futures. You guys don’t see the same writing on the wall with Mika. Kreider, Panarin, and Trouba signings and the rate at which they are paid is going to mandate Mika is gone. Mika is not going to take less the 10 million a year from us. And that is just no doable with a flat cap for the next 3 years while still being able to sign Kappo and Laffy and Miller.

          I would like to put this in perspective. Hank was arguably one of the best if not the best goalie of his generation. And he will never win a stanley cup. But someone as shitty and talentless as Shattenkirk did. Essentially thanks to our front office for signing him to some ridiculous contract. Does that seem right to you? How does that sit in your stomach? Cause it makes me want to vomit.

          • Well you’re certainly entitled to your preferences. I’m not gonna insist that you’re wrong or anything.
            I do believe you are not taking players ages into account, and the fact that players like Zucc and Mac would have signed higher contracts than they ended up signing. Mac gave Tampa a discount cuz he realized how close they were to winning and Zucc was lucky to have caught on with The Wild. He wasn’t a highly sought after player in FA. But if both stayed with Rangers Mac would’ve asked for 7-8 mil/yr & Zucc probably over 6/yr. I agree with you on Kreider’s contract, but that was a confluence of 3 things that all converged right for him at the time. Now it doesn’t look like a great signing.
            But More importantly you’re not taking into account the direction the Rangers organization wanted to make, which was to stop gutting the pipeline and stop signing/trading for older seasoned expensive players (ie Richards, Boyle, St. Louie types). I think that’s what brought on the rebuild in the end. And I think they did a good job doing it. They have a great pipeline of players and most of their draft picks.

          • Sucks for Hank. Sucked for Giacomin. The HOF is chock full of great players that never won a cup…and shitty ones who did.

        • To your point it’s difficult as a fan to say you just like Gorton or you just like Sather. I think most of us liked some moves both of those guys made…and gnashed our teeth at others they made. That’s the way it is in sports. Most GMs have a short shelf life.

    • Bull … many reports had Petterson going 7 or later … and Makar wasn’t a lock for Top 5. Stop talking out of the wrong hole.

      Re: Lias, clearly that’s what they thought when they drafted him. It was a mistake … you of course are perfect. lol

  • I believe the draft pick in Skjei trade, was Braden Schneider (after a small trade up with Calgary) This could be a real steal for the Rangers, not including the 5 million saved on the cap from Skjei’s salary.

    • …and the fact that Schneider was going to be picked by the Devils if the Rangers didn’t move up a couple of spots to get him.

  • I thought he did a very good job as the GM. No GM wins every trade or makes every move a home run. Just look around the league and you can clearly see this is usually the case. Trouba was suppose to the #1 D man but wasn’t used on the powerplay much when he clearly showed he could play there when he was with the Jets. Shatty went through the same thing as did Yandle. Gorton’s firing is a big mistake by Dolan and he will live to regret it. Look around the league and ask other teams how they think he did as our GM and 95% or more will say EXCELLENT! Out of the 31 GM’s how many have done a job better then him?

    • Gorton was good and bad…no gm wins every trade and his good trades were very good and his bad trades were very bad…when you average them all together, what do you have? An average GM.

      Gorton drafted very good players and very bad players…again, average it out and you have an average GM.

      Why are the Rangers so thin at Center, whose fault is that? Dolans?

      Who neglected to add any truculence to the team or within the entire organization?

      If you remove Laffy and Kappo, where does the Prospect pool rank?

      We have about 30 European prospects, outside of a handful, how are the rest doing?

      Gorton had 6 years to build this team and he left us with gapping holes at center and grit.

      When your senior team is littered with soft east – west guys, what was the move he felt necessary to make…trade Pepe for a 4th, did that make any sense…even though you all think he sucks…Pepe had a place, Quinn who was in love with the Islanders, felt it was more important to get more out of Blackwell and Rooney than Pepe.

      The Rangers future is bright and Gorton had a big hand in that…but in the end…he didn’t do enough….Drury who learned from Gorton, will hopefully take the good and ignore the bad.

    • “Gorton’s firing is a big mistake by Dolan and he will live to regret it.”

      Doesn’t that now depend on what Drury does? What if Drury proves to be just as good if not better? You think Dolan lives to regret his decision?

  • Yes, good stuff. So, if it wasn’t for Wilson’s BS, Rangers wouldn’t have moved the big two ones and the little one out, and the Rangers wouldn’t be as close as they are today to having an adult as Head Coach, and getting some face punchers, I mean grit. Equally important, the team’s culture needed to be changed, before the young guys got the wrong idea.

    These moves needed to be done, all of us are graded on our results.

    Including you Brian Leetch, real disappointed in you, why do players make moves regardless of the fans? We are the ones that pay the team that pay you.

    • granted, Pionk doesn’t play the same physical game as Trouba; so from a production standpoint coupled with the price tag, of course the trade looks awful.

      Trouba is a #3/4D making 1D money… if the guy could ever hit the net–even 8 goals next season would be great.

      p.s. props for the NYR Steal Your Face

  • Gorton with a C+ rating. Stuck with Sather disaster signings hindered him and decisions. Not getting a kick ass fourth line after crushed by Carolina resulted in the end of his time in NY. Still would have fired DQ first.

  • Anyone know why the Rangers had to ask Vegas for permission to interview Gallant? He was fired by Vegas, right? Just curious.

  • “The Ugly” – should start and end with signing permanently underachieving Chris Kreider who is clearly on the downside of his career to 7 year / $45,500,000 contract instead of moving him for a first round pick in one of the most deepest draft in years… For that, in addition to idiotic mishandling of TDA issue IMHO more than justifies his firing…

    • Just look at what Wings got for Mantha this year and we would have gotten the same, if not more…huge mistake, but I think that falls on the entire organization and not just Gorton.

      Kreider makes it easy to fall in love with, the size, the speed but the most important thing is will and he lacks that in spades…when he is fired up…he is top 10 in league, when he is disinterested, which is 80% of the time, he is about as good as PDG.

      • The only reason I don’t hate the Kreider signing is he has one skill that really isn’t replaceable or easily found. Speed. If he ever could find a hands …forget it. He is McDavid at that point. He has just never has been able to do so. He is like Grabner. Stone hands.

        The term is where I have issue. Cause his speed will decline as he ages and then he will be worthless and a burden. But it was the going rate at the time so I understand it.

    • fully agree, like Kreider but not for that much. could change my mind if he became a 20 goal 4th liner with 70-90 penalty mins a year.

  • I think overall JD and JG were a solid hockey management team. I am quite sure that if they still had their jobs they be adding some toughness on the Ranger roster in the off season. I still think the ADA debacle could of been handled better. As I said in a previous post it should of stayed in the room. If DeAngelo was that much of a head case, Gorton should of moved him before he resigned him.

  • Nice analysis Dave. Agree with most of it, but a few quibbles or additions.

    Grabner wasn’t the first of a few who worked out beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. During the Sather tenure, these signings were common, most notably Benoit Pouliot. JG did worse than his predecessor here.

    I don’t think the Ryan Graves trade is properly categorized. Almost certainly, Graves requested the trade and teams typically oblige these requests. How else can one explain the Rangers trading him for a player they nevr showed any interest in (after the trade!)? The real problem – which you clearly alluded to with the O’Gara comparison – was that the Rangers never gave Graves a shot. Which no doubt is why he wanted out. Graves was very clearly a successful young AHL defenseman. The Rangers did not think that would translate to the NHL level. It was foolish not to test that theory.

    I don’t agree with letting Gorton off the hook for the draft. The GM should handle the draft, not the head scout. Yes, the scouts provide the information to act on, but there are also organizational needs. Gordie Clark should hae been advising Gorton, not actually drafting.

    Finally, for worst Gorton move, I nominate the Jesper Fast fiasco. He could have signed Fast cheaply if only he would have agreed to a third year. This was not Gorton’s costliest mistake by far, but it was his stupidest. There were bigger blunders where JG’s reasoning did not stand the test of time, but in this case, it took less than eight seconds to see his reasoning as laughable. In hindsight, he should have been fired that day. [If they had signed Fast and exposed him in the draft, he would have been gone after one year anyway and the Rangers would not have lost Gauthier or whomever.]

    • The Rangers can choose to protect Gauthier….just saying. Maybe the next head coach will want to see him more. He is very much a wildcard, but why let him go? His value is low right now, but what if he really turns out to be something and starts scoring 20 goals on another team?

      • Sure, but that wasn’t my point. If he didn’t want Fast that much, he could have exposed Fast and that would have protected everyone else.

        Incidentally, I don’t really know who the Rangers will protect as tneir seventh forward. I think Gorton would have protected Howden, but now all bets are off. Could be Gauthier, Howden, Blackwell, Rooney or Gettinger. None of these would astound me. If new management is focused on grit, Howden and Blackwell would appear to be unlikely. If they are focused on trade value, then Gauthier and Howden rise to the top, but I think we and/or management overestimate the trade value of these two.

  • If trading Hayes, Pionk, and a 1st for the signing rights of Trouba is “other”, what exactly is bad?

    What does other exactly mean? Like is it…. “maybe was a bad trade?”

    Like let’s be honest here. What he did with Stephan and Raanta and to now have nothing to show for it is “other”? There is clearly winners in these deals, just because you don’t want to admit it yet doesn’t make it so.

    Taken a proven playoff performer and a viable backup goalie and turning that into nothing 4 years later is a loss. Not really a question. We don’t have a single asset left from this trade. I mean there is no other way to look at this.

    And Trouba wanted out. It was written all over the NHL. Anyone could see it. And he decided to fairly compensate Winnipeg for their misfortune of being in a location not many players want to spend their careers at? And if fair compensation for signing right to a UFA is a 1st, Hayes rental, and Pionk…what would he have traded them straight up for him?

    Fox is another deal that I would put in the “other” category if you are going there. While I would make the Fox deal 10 out of 10 times today with hindsight. At the time it was a reach to trade two 2nd round picks for a unknown. Who ultimately was a throw in for Carolina in the Hamilton deal.

    I take exception to the Skjei deal also. I just can’t really argue cause he turned skjei and part of the nash trade into K’Andre Miller. And I would rather have K’Andre over Skjei any day of the week. But at the time I thought that was not alot of return for a guy as valued as he was. But this is the story of Gorton’s tenure here.

    Just look at the returns he got Zuccarello and Hayes. The Hayes trade isn’t horrible. It would be a maybe or “Other” category for me. But the Zuc trade was another diminished return cause he waited to long to move him. I think just like the Mika situation presently. If he knew he was going to trade him then it should have happened the trade deadline before when he still had a 1 year left on his contract. Instead he waited til it was a rental situation just like we are going to do with Mika. And the return will be a lot less cause teams know we are not going to resign him. Why did he sign Hayes to that 1 year extension when he knew he was going to move on from him? It makes no sense.

    If these are all maybe bad moves i just listed…just how bad are the bad ones you listed? All of those moves, are fireable offenses as a GM in themselves. Yet he got opportunity after opportunity to mess this team up over and over again. With absolutely no accountability. Cause our owner just lets these guys run free.

    Honestly I would be surprised if Gorton ever got another GM job again. As I have said previously…he was a excellent talent scout, but his negotiation and trade evaluation skills were subpar at best. And lets not even go with his ability to sign players to reasonable deals and how they will effect the team long term against the cap. In 3 or 4 years we are still going to be hemmed in by the Trouba and Panarin and Kreider signings. We are essentially going to be forced to move Mika because of these long term deals. Whether you want to admit or not.

  • Skjei for 1st rounder was definitely GOOD. As was Grabner and Holden.

    Stepan trade was good. Drafting Lias Andersson was ugly as was Olaf the goalie.

    DeAngelo handling is super ugly. Made even uglier by trading away 2nd rounder just to move Staal so we can fit DeAngelo.

    Zuccarello trade was ugly. As was Lemieux.

    Not trading Fast at the deadline was dumb if they had no intentions to re-sign him.

    • People will say that JD and JG wanted to practice patience’s with the rebuild but in JD’s first year…the rebuild died…because he and Gorton started to drink the kool-aid, the 2nd half of last was going good around the deadline…JD & JG decided to keep the UFA’s instead of trade them away…if we traded Fast and Kreider at last’s year draft, we would have had a Vrana type, now on the team, our own 1st and another from the Kreider deal, a 2nd from that deal, and a 2nd for Fast, instead, fast left for nothing because we made move for our playoff push and 6.5mm for a 3rd line checker.

      • At that time we did not win a draft lottery yet, so re-signing Kreider did not seem like a bad idea. Fast not sure we would have gotten 2nd but definitely a 3rd.

  • The bottom line is that Gorton assembled a soft passive hockey team that is non-competitive in big games, competing for the playoffs or is not even a long shot for the cup anytime soon. I’d give him the same rating as Dolan did. This team needs a makeover.

  • I don’t really agree on the Staal trade and the Skjei trade.

    Staal got hurt his first game as a Ranger, against the Isles. And then AV totally miscast Eric also. Staal could have been productive here, based on his years in Minny, after he left the Rangers.

    I loved the Skjei draft pick, but he was not good under AV and the Rangers got good value with that first round pick.

    The Zib trade is up there with the McD from the Habs’ trade, as one of the best in Rangers’ history.

    • I liken the Zib for Brassard trade to the one the Yankees made when they traded Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill.

  • Let’s look at the youngsters the team has now:

    K’Andre Miller, Vitali Kravtsov, Filip Chytil, Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren. Add in the luck of the draw picks of Alexis Lafreniere and Kappo Kakko, and you have an incredibly talented group of young players. Then add in Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Ryan Strome, who are all players that Gorton brought in as well. Tony DeAngelo and a first rounder was a good deal for a while, especially in view of Stepan’s awful performance in Arizona and the injuries Raanta. Michael Grabner was as well. Igor and Buchnevich were drafted a little earlier, but they held on to them too. Yes, Gorton got hosed in the Tampa trade, no doubt, but overall he assembled quite a team. No he was not perfect, but I’d give him B- over all.

    Drury is a smart guy. So long as he actually gets to run the show, I am not too worried. Just keep Dolan and Sather at bay!

  • Gorton really did more good than bad when everything is properly weighed. We’re dealing with stupid Dolan. Ever since the Knick’s turn around he thinks he’s an expert. However, have good feelings about the Ranger’s future with Drury

  • ‘Before DeAngelo lost his mind”? This is an example of how a bs story becomes a “meme” and then is accepted as fact. A blatant lie in the hack NY press about ADA stealing K. Millers first goal and “wouldn’t give it back” coz he’s a racist. The trainers had the puck and were getting it mounted for Miller. Miller actually spoke on behalf of ADA (good job by him)
    ADA gets punched in the face but loses HIS job?
    Then JG announces to the world that he played his last game as a Ranger, thus destroying his trade value. Horrible asset management in order to satisfy a political narrative. Lemieux apparently wanted out, gets traded. Then the Wilson incident. Panarin is lucky he didn’t have a career ending injury if he cracked his skull on the ice. So glad JG was fired. A shot across the bow to the team as a whole. Now a mandate to get tougher; physically and mentally. I’m way more excited about this teams future than I was last month.

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