Trade Troubles: Jeff Gorton's Shadow Looms Over Potential Rangers Deal

Discover the hurdles facing the New York Rangers in their quest for a trade, as former GM Jeff Gorton's influence casts a shadow over potential deals.

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The New York Rangers are hunting for a center, and it's no secret. General Manager Chris Drury started the process by waiving veteran Nick Bonino last week. With 24-year-old Filip Chytil sidelined for the season after another injury, possibly a second concussion, they might need to fill two spots down the middle.

"Yeah, the Rangers were already eyeing a center," said Elliotte Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada. "And now they might need to find two. Filip Chytil got re-injured [on Friday], and we're all hoping for the best, but it's not sounding too good."

One available option is Sean Monahan of the Montreal Canadiens. Friedman discussed the pending UFA, logically connecting the Rangers as potential suitors. Yet there's a twist. 

Jeff Gorton's Ghost: Lingering Influence on Trade Talks:

Forever Blueshirts reported in September 2022, hinting at trade rumors involving disgruntled prospect Vitali Kravtsov before he was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks. The presence of former Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton in Montreal didn't make a potential trade with the Canadiens any easier.

Gorton and team president John Davidson got the boot from owner James Dolan on May 5, 2021, and Chris Drury took the reins.

"No, I didn't see it turning out like that. It caught me off guard," said Gorton on the Cam and Strick Podcast after his firing following the Tom Wilson incident. "I mean, sure, I lost my job – but there's gotta be more to it than just that, right? I don't know, but it can't be just one thing."

The sentiment of the feud is agreed upon by those close to Gorton in Montreal. Arthur Staple of the Athletic spilled some pucks on the matter. "A person who talks to the Canadiens regularly said Montreal’s front office has believed for a while now that there’s no chance Drury even reaches out to Canadiens GM Kent Hughes. Perhaps that changes, but indications are both sides are looking elsewhere."

It can be why we haven't seen Rangers scouts at Habs games recently.

As for Monahan, the 29-year-old would fit right in on the Blueshirts' third line. He's scored solid numbers with 13 goals and 35 points in 49 games. He's also clutch when it matters most. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Monahan has ten goals and 21 points in 30 games, all with the Calgary Flames..

On top of his two-way prowess, he carries a reasonable cap hit of $1.985 million, which works given the Blueshirts acquired $4.4 million in cap space with Chytilout. It means New York would still have room to chase after other needed pieces like a right winger and a depth defenseman.

That said, it's still early days, and there's no telling what the market will look like come the March 8th trade deadline.