New York Rangers: GM Chris Drury breaks down team toughness, roster spots and a captain

New York Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury spoke with the media on Thursday discussing different topics which included his view of naming a captain for the upcoming season.

It’s that time of year in New York City.  The weather is getting a little cooler and with fall approaching fans can begin to get excited about the return of New York Rangers hockey.

President and general manager Chris Drury spoke with the media on the day before the start of the club’s development camp which will be held at the team’s training facility in Tarrytown, NY. He touched on many of the topics that have been the focal point of the off-season.

Speaking about some of the acquisitions the team made over the summer Drury told

“I’m certainly excited about the guys we’ve added – from (Sammy) Blais to (Barclay) Goodrow to (Ryan) Reaves to (Patrik) Nemeth,” Drury said on a conference call with reporters as was reported by Vince Mercogliano of Loud.com. “We were looking to have more defined roles within our lineup and trying to give (new head coach Gerard Gallant) as many options as you can to fill those roles. I think we did address a lot of them.

The general manager has been well aware that the team needed to address the physicality of the team. The Tom Wilson incident may have magnified the situation, but Drury saw the writing on the wall last season before he was promoted. He went on to explain why he felt the needed to make these “non-blockbuster deals”

“We’ve talked about trying to do this for a while,” he said. “With all the assets we’ve acquired and adding a lot of skill, we knew at some point we were going to have to surround that skill with some players that had experience, that had size and had some grit, that had won in different places. We were fortunate enough to be able to do that this summer.”

Ryan Reaves

The team acquired Ryan Reaves for the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick. Drury explained that Reaves has assets that make him a good fit for the team.

“We’re trying to find guys who can fit certain roles. It wasn’t a reaction to one thing or one incident. Truth be told, we tried to get Ryan three years ago when he was a free agent and he chose to stay in Vegas. He’s a player we’ve liked for a long time and thought it was a good opportunity to get him.”

Will the team name a captain in the near future?

The last player to wear the “C” on his sweater was Ryan Mcdonagh.  The Blueshirts have gone over three years since a player has been named captain opting instead to use alternate captains.

The GM wants to give head coach Gerrard Gallant some time to get to know his new team but feels naming a captain is something that will be done.

“It’s an important piece for us moving forward to have a captain,” he said. “But with that said, it has to be the right person. (Gallant) just got to town a little while ago and he’s just getting to know the players, on and off the ice. It has to be our decision, collectively, as an organization. We’ll continue to have discussions and look at different options. With that said, I’m very confident with the guys we have in the room and the leadership we have, and we’ve added. One way or another, I think it’s going to get figured out.”

Who will be named is the question on everyone’s mind.  Mika Zibanejaed has to be considered, but with his contract set to expire at the end of this season and his UFA status the club cannot consider him until they know for sure he will be with the team next season.

Chris Kreider is also another consideration with his contract keeping him in New York for the next several years.  My pick would be defenseman Jacob Trouba and while we are discussing the topic of leadership don’t be too surprised to see Adam Fox get tabbed with an “A” on his jersey in the near future.

The regaining Norris Trophy winner has earned it.

Rangers, Barclay Goodrow close to agreeing on new contract

The New York Rangers and center Barclay Goodrow appear to be close to agreeing to a new contract that will keep the recently acquired player off the free-agent market.

Reports have been circulating that the New York Rangers are nearing a deal with Barclay Goodrow. The 28-year-old is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 28. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday for a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

“We’ve talked,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said to NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger on Monday. “We’re making progress but nothing to report now. But I don’t anticipate any issues getting him under contract.”

The Rangers have been in desperate need to find a center after this season’s struggle at the position.  Goodrow has won 52% of the draws he has taken in his career that spans seven seasons in the NHL.

In this year’s post-season, he won 52 of the face-offs he took(40%).

GM Chris Drury Likes His Versatility

General  Manager Chris Drury likes what Goodrow brings to the rink every night as he recognized his string game on the ice.

“I think he’s pretty versatile,” Drury said. “I could see him do all different things for Gerard, whether that’s more time in the middle, whether it’s face-offs in the [defensive] zone. But we think he’s got a pretty complete game. He’s going be able to help a lot of different areas.

“He’s a guy that we targeted and obviously went out and made a deal with Tampa early to get a jump on it.”

The 6′-2 203lb native of Toronto, Ontario will fit in the lineup and should be a huge asset to head coach Gerad Gallant he looks to bring an in-your-face, hard to play against game to Broadway.

In his career in the NHL Goodrow has scored 93 points (32 goals, 61 assists) in 331 regular-season games with the Lightning and San Jose Sharks, and 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 65 playoff games. The Lightning acquired him from the Sharks on Feb. 24, 2020.

The Rangers may have a deal in place with Goodrow, but can not make a formal announcement until Thursday, the day after the Seattle NHL Expansion Draft.

The New York Rangers may want to look at Tampa Bay’s Hiring Playbook

With the firing of David Quinn, the New York Rangers are looking for a new head coach. Around the league, pundits have been stating that the Rangers will be looking for an experienced head coach. Of course, the idea is that an experienced head coach would have what it takes to mold the experienced players with the wealth of young talent to make them a playoff team next season.

Many inside and outside of the New York Metro area have listed available coaches such as Gerald Gallant, Rick Tocchet, and former Rangers head coach John Tortorella as likely candidates to fill the open head coach position.

While new GM Chris Drury is likely to hire one of these experienced coaches, he may want to look at the success of the Tampa Lightning. Yes, the team that hired a coach with no NHL experience is now the longest-tenured coach in the league. And the defending Stanley Cup Champion to boot.

On March 25, 2013, Jon Cooper was hired to be Tampa Bay’s head coach after they fired Guy Boucher. Cooper was promoted to the position after having success with the Lightning’s AHL affiliates.

In 2010, Cooper was hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning to coach the Norfolk Admirals, the AHL affiliate. During the 2011–12 season, the Admirals won the Calder Cup as the AHL’s champions. For the 2012–13 season, Cooper became the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch after the Lightning changed their AHL affiliation. In 65 games with the Crunch, Cooper led the team to a 39–18–3–5 record, the best in the AHL at the time of his promotion.

The New York Rangers should give serious consideration to Kris Knoblauch.

Knoblauch is, of course, the head coach of the Blueshirts affiliate in Hartford. He also did an excellent job of temporarily replacing Quinn when the entire coaching staff was placed in COVID protocols. Knoblauch went 4-2 behind the Ranger’s bench, and the team appeared very comfortable with his leadership.

While Knoblauch does not have Cooper’s pedigree as far as winning AHL championships, he has had similar success in his coaching career.

During his four full seasons with the OHL’s Erie Otters, his team had a 204–58–7–3 record and won at least 50 games each season. They were the first team in Canadian Hockey League history to post four consecutive 50-win seasons. Erie won the OHL Championship in the 2016–17 season under Knoblauch. He was the recipient of the Matt Leyden Trophy in 2015–16, given to the OHL Coach of the Year.

Knoblauch also has experience with good NHL talent in his previous experiences. During his seven total seasons as head coach of the Kootenay Ice (WHL) and the Erie Otters, Knoblauch compiled a record of 298–130–16–13. He also coached such players as Connor McDavid, Alex DeBrincat, Andre Burakovsky during these seasons. He is not a stranger to helping the development of good, young NHL talent.

In fact, Knoblauch does have one thing on his resume that Jon Cooper did not.

Knoblauch was a Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach for two seasons before being hired to coach Hartford in July of 2019.

It might be time that the NHL and the Rangers save recycling for their waste products and look to find a coach that has the skills to continue the development of their talent for an extended period of time.

 

 

Did the Owner Derail the New York Rangers’ Rebuilding Efforts?

The New York Rangers and their fanbase have always been pleased that the owner had generally kept his hands off the operations of the hockey team. That all changed last week when the owner not only decided to call for the firing of a top NHL official publically, he fired the President and General Manager.

Why? Because the rebuild was not going fast enough.

This impatient person has now interfered in a way that has had him widely panned across the NBA for the way he handles the Knicks. The impatient owner fired John Davidson and Jeff Gorton because a team with the second-youngest roster in the NHL did not make the playoffs. In a pandemic shortened season, no less. Almost all pre-season pundits genuinely believe that this would not be the year that the young Blueshirts make the playoffs.

The good news is that at least the owner had the sense to hire Chris Drury as the replacement, who will also get a helping hand from Glen Sather.

But at this point, that might be good news/bad news as it now seems likely that this owner will know run constant interference as the Rangers strive toward the goal of making the playoffs next season.

As the Rangers talk with the media for a final time today, Ryan Strome mentioned this in his Zoom conference. “That’s the goal. I think that message has been sent and received,” Strome said.

It will also be determined soon what the team’s makeup will look like next season, including whether or not head coach David Quinn will be allowed to continue with the rebuilding process.

The New York Rangers owner did not help with the public relations of the organization.

While many around the league rallied around the Rangers after the Tom Wilson incident, that was not the case for the organization’s public message on the NHL and the alleged Department of Player Safety.

It was very nice to read our own Fireside Rangers Twitter page and see all of the supporting comments concerning what happened to Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panarin at the hands of Wilson. It also somewhat validated what Ranger fans believed should happen when many Devils and Islander fans also called for a suspension.

Realistically, an overwhelming number of knowledgable hockey people outside of the Nation’s capital knew that Wilson should have been suspended.

The owner did not need to make that statement. He already had so much support around the league from the NHL community and the media.

Now the Rangers have to hope that any player they want to bring him to help this young and talented team will not look past them due to the past and possible future actions of this owner.

Yes, the Rangers rebuild effort has been temporarily derailed. It is now up to Chris Drury to get the rebuild back on track and keep it there.

 

 

 

 

 

Rangers recall Jonny Brodzinski, Tim Gettinger, and Justin Richards from Hartford

New York Rangers’ new president and GM Chris Drury made his first roster decisions in his new role recalling three players for the Hartford Wolf Pack on Thursday morning.

The day after the craziest day in New York Rangers recent years, the team announced it has recalled Jonny Brodzinski, Tim Gettinger, and Justin Richards from the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack.

Brodzinski, 27, has skated in 14 AHL games with the Wolf Pack this season, registering six goals and 11 assists for 17 points, along with a plus-four rating and eight penalty minutes. He leads Hartford in points per game in 2020-21 (1.21). Brodzinski has also skated in four NHL games with the Rangers this season, and he tallied his first goal/point with the Blueshirts on Feb. 26 vs. Boston.

Gettinger, 23, has skated in 23 AHL games with Hartford this season, registering nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, along with a plus-two rating and 20 penalty minutes. He is tied for the team lead in power-play goals (six), ranks second in points, and ranks third in goals in 2020-21. Gettinger has played in six career NHL games with the Rangers over parts of two seasons (2018-19 and 2019-20).

Richards, 23, has skated in 20 AHL games with the Wolf Pack this season, recording four goals and seven assists for 11 points, along with a plus-three rating and 10 penalty minutes. He ranks second among Wolf Pack rookies in assists and points (only trailing Morgan Barron in each category). Richards tallied two assists, including his first career AHL assist/point, while making his AHL debut on Feb. 7 vs. Bridgeport.

The recall comes at a time where the Rangers are trying to maneuver around some injuries and a possible upcoming suspension.

Chris Kreider, Brett Howden, Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, and Ryan Lindgren are all out of the lineup and it was announced on Thursday that Pavel Buchnevich will have a hearing with the NHL after his high-sticking/game misconduct penalty during the loss to the Capitals Wednesday night.

The Rangers didn’t have a morning practice Thursday so their lineup won’t be announced until later on this afternoon.

New York Rangers: Chris Drury removes himself from GM contention at Florida (Report)

New York Rangers assistant general manager Chris Drury has withdrawn himself from consideration for the vacant general manager position with the Florida Panthers per a report by Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

Drury had an interview with the Panthers organization during the week of Aug. 16. and reportedly advised Florida on Friday afternoon that he was withdrawing himself from consideration.

The 44-year-old will enter his sixth year in the Rangers’ front office and fifth as assistant GM.  He is also entering his fourth as GM of the AHL Wolf Pack. Drury assists Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton on all player transactions and contract negotiations, and he is responsible for all hockey-related matters for the Wolf Pack. The former Blueshirt also helps Gorton in overseeing and evaluating all players at the collegiate level.

Drury played four seasons with the Rangers (2007-08-2010-11) after signing with the team as a free agent on July 1, 2007. In addition, Drury served as the Rangers captain for three seasons (2008-09 – 2010-11) after being named the 25th captain in franchise history, as well as the second American-born captain in franchise history on October 3, 2008. In 264 regular-season games with the Blueshirts, he recorded 62 goals and 89 assists for 151 points, along with 116 penalty minutes

In his NHL playing career, Drury played in 892 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and the Rangers, registering 255 goals and 360 assists for 615 points. Drury captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2000-01, ranking second in the NHL with 11 goals in 23 games during the team’s playoff run. In 1998-99, Drury received the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year after registering 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points with Colorado. Drury recorded at least 20 goals in nine different seasons in his career, and he registered at least 50 points in eight different seasons.

Former Ranger and current NBC Broadcaster Eddie Olczyk has also interviewed for the GM position in Florida.  Peter Chiarelli, Scott Mellanby, and NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes are also in the mix to be hired by Florida.