Where the Gorton regime failed in the rebuild

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Lias Andersson poses for photos after being selected seventh overall by the New York Rangers during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Lias Andersson poses for photos after being selected seventh overall by the New York Rangers during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 30: J.T. Miller
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 30: J.T. Miller /

Mistake #2: 2018 trade deadline

At the deadline the Rangers made good on their promise to the fans and dealt some longtime favorites in exchange for prospects and draft picks.   While they got two first round  and one second round pick they also filled a need by acquiring three young defense prospects in Ryan Lindgren, Libor Hajek and Yegor Rykov.  For offense they got a former first round pick in center Brett Howden.

The deal with the Bruin has been a winner with the Rangers getting Ryan Lindgren, a draft pick that turned into K’Andre Miller and Ryan Spooner who was traded for Ryan Strome.  As for the rest, not so good.  Yegor Rykov, traded for Michael Grabner, never came over and is no longer a Rangers prospect.

But it is the deal with Tampa that hurts.  The Rangers got a first round pick, but they were sold a bill of good when they got Libor Hajek and Brett Howden.  At the time, we were led to believe that those two prospects were the crown jewels of the Lightning organization. Vlad Namestnikov had become a 20 goal scorer playing on a line with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov.

Was Gorton fleeced by Steve Yzerman?  Four years later, Hajek is a seventh defenseman and Howden plays for the Golden Knights.  Namestnikov scored 13 goals in 99 games and was practically given away.  The Lightning have won two Stanley Cups.

Now, when it comes to the much maligned Howden, his departure may be one the Rangers will live to regret.  This season with the Golden Knights, in 33 games he has scored seven goals and 16 points and his faceoff percentage is 48.4%.  Let’s just say that as a fourth liner in Vegas, Howden has scored more goals and points than Kaapo Kakko, Filip Chytil, Kevin Rooney, Greg McKegg and Dryden Hunt.