New York Rangers: Grading Jeff Gorton’s trades

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NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 15: New York Rangers Center Mika Zibanejad (93) is pictured during the National Hockey League game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers on January 15, 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jeff Gorton was named general manager of the New York Rangers on July 1, 2015.  In his three and a half years, how has he done when it comes to trades?

Whenever it comes to grading trades it’s best to wait for years as it may take that long to accurately rate the transaction.  It may be premature to examine Gorton’s trading record, but considering how important the impending trade deadlne activity will be to the future of the team, it’s worth taking a look.

We’ll look at each trade and provide two grades. One will be the current grade or how the deal is rated today. We’ll also provide a grade for the day the transaction was made and if it is  trending up or down.

Since he was named GM, Gorton has made 22 trades.  Many were minor transactions, but there were some blockbusters.  It’s impossible to tell if Glen Sather’s fingerprints were on these deals, but as club president he had to have input, the question is how much.

First, some background about Gorton.  He served as assistant general manager of the Boston Bruins for seven seasons until 2006.  In that role he was responsible for scouting and managing the Bruins’ AHL team.   He was named interim general manager after Mike O’Connell was fired and ran the team for four months from March to July 2006.  The Bruins hired Peter Chiarelli to be GM and Gorton was fired a year later.

It’s worth looking at the deals Gorton made while he ran the Bruins. He traded a 4th and 5th round draft pick to move up in the draft and with the pick he acquired he drafted Brad Marchand. He also traded goalie Andrew Raycroft to Toronto for the rights to Tukka Rask. There were a couple other minor transactions. He also signed two free agents, Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard.  Rask went on to win the Vezina Trophy and Chara won the Norris Trophy.  Savard was a top scorer until he had to retire after a series of concussions. Many of the players he acquired through the draft or trades were key personnel on the 2011 Boston Bruins championship team.

Gorton joined the Rangers first as a scout, then as head of player personnel and was promoted to assistant general manager in 2011.  He was Sather’s right hand and was influential in many of the transactions before he took over in 2015.

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