As the Bruins pursue their second Stanley Cup in three years, starting with Wednesday’s Game 1 at Chicago, now seems like a decent time to point out that the Rangers need to make sure Jeff Gorton will be their next GM whenever Glen Sather relinquishes those duties.
While the Bruins and Blackhawks compete for the Cup, the Rangers’ brass is gathering this week at Sather’s La Quinta, Calif., mansion for the annual off-season organizational meeting. Items on the docket this year: Select a new coach after Sather fired John Tortorella on May 29, plan for the NHL Draft on June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark and decide whether or not to buy out the final seven seasons on Brad Richards’ nine-year, $60 million deal.
The meeting opened Monday amidst another unfounded rumor, soon proved false, that Sather, also the team’s president, would step aside as GM. Sather made it clear on a conference call announcing Tortorella’s dismissal he would continue as GM in 2013-14.
But Sather, the Rangers’ boss since June 1, 2000, turns 70 on Sept. 2 and underwent prostate cancer surgery in March, so thinking about a successor is not an off-target discussion. Luckily for the Rangers, they have Gorton.
Gorton joined the Rangers’ organization in 2007 after being fired by the Bruins. But as the Bruins interim GM from March 27-July 8, 2006, he acquired Tuukka Rask, who has replaced Tim Thomas as Boston’s franchise goalie, from the Maple Leafs for soon-forgotten netminder Andrew Raycroft. He signed captain Zdeno Chara as a free agent. And he oversaw a draft that produced Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand, not to mention Phil Kessel, eventually traded to Toronto for multiple draft choices, one of which was Tyler Seguin
The point is, Gorton showed, in a short span, he has a savvy touch for personnel moves.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the Rangers’ coaching search, many fans have communicated via Twitter, email and in casual chats that Mark Messier is not a popular choice to become coach, despite his popularity as a player. All indications pointed toward the fans welcoming a Messier hire, but now the sentiment is that the Rangers can’t gamble on an inexperienced coach.