New York Rangers: Should we trust GM Jeff Gorton?

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton has made some good moves and some questionable decisions since taking over for Glen Sather in 2015.

Sather left the Rangers at a time where there were a lot of issues that needed to be fixed.

Here we take a look back at some of the big moves that Gorton has made, and raise the question as to whether or not we should trust the Rangers relatively new GM.

Questionable Decisions

One of Gorton’s earliest moves for the Rangers was picking up Eric Staal for second half of the 2015-16 season.

The Rangers traded second-round picks in 2016 and 2017 and forward Aleksi Saarela for Staal who had a brief, disappointing stint in New York. He played the last 20 games of the season with the Rangers and had only three goals and three assists for six assists.

They then shipped the 32-year-old to Minnesota where he had a great season for the Wild. This season, he put up 28 goals and 37 assists for 65 points.

This was a lot to give up after Rangers former general manager Glen Sather traded Anthony Dulclair for Keith Yandle.

Handing over Keith Yandle for a 2016 sixth round pick and a fourth-round this offseason since Yandle signed with the Panthers.This does not seem enough for one of the Rangers top defenseman in 2015-16, who went on to have 41 points (five goals, 36 assists) in Florida this season.

Under Glen Sather, the Rangers tended to trade their future in an effort to win a Cup. And while this move initially raised concern, Gorton made moves before the start of the 2016-17 season that drastically impacted the Rangers success.

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A Good Decision

Gorton overhauled the Rangers offense this past offseason. Eleven of the Rangers players on the 2015-16 roster were over the age of 30. Last Summer, Gorton brought that number down to four.

By doing this, he solved many of the Rangers issues and produced a deep, fast offense that was able to generate goal scoring opportunities.

One of the first moves Gorton made one of the riskiest. He traded long-time Ranger, Derek Brassard, for a younger, more defensively geared forward in Mika Zibanejad. Despite the uncertainty that came with this move, it was something that ended up working out for the Rangers. Zibanejad meshed well with his linemates on the top two lines and will be an important part of the Rangers offense moving forward.

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Final Thoughts

Buying out Dan Girardi last week was a good choice on Gorton’s part (though it doesn’t make it any easier).

I feel confident in the direction that Gorton is moving the team.

I’m not sure that it’s Gorton that I trust, per say. It is moreso that I trust the system. The actions that Gorton took last offseason had a direct impact on how the Rangers played this season.

The main focus this year needs to be overhauling the defense to try and support Henrik Lundqvist.

What gives me some comfort is that I can see the direction in which Gorton looking to point the team. He is focusing on encouraging the role of young players on the roster, he is looking to create depth in both zones and ultimately to improve upon the Rangers’ strengths.

Next: New York Rangers: The importance of a right defenseman

If there is anyone that is going to resolve the Ranger’s issues, I think Gorton proved last season that he has a shot at being the one who will be able to do it.