In a stunning move, the Rangers fired team president John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton on Wednesday and elevated Chris Drury to both positions. The bombshell maneuver creates a slew of questions. The Post’s Mollie Walker provides some answers.
Q: How much did the Tom Wilson incident factor into the dismissals?
A: There was no correlation. The firings were being mulled by Jim Dolan for some time because of a disconnect between the CEO and Davidson/Gorton. Dolan is looking to close out the rebuilding chapter, while Davidson and Gorton were hoping to take more time with it.
Q: Were Davidson/Gorton not on board with the team’s statement condemning the Wilson “punishment”?
A: Davidson and Gorton did not think the organization’s statement on Wilson, who beat on Pavel Buchnevich and knocked Artemi Panarin out for the final three games, was a good idea. They did not want to be associated with it, but their position on the matter did not directly lead to their dismissal.
Q: What does this mean for head coach David Quinn?
A: With two years remaining on his contract, and only an expanded playoff appearance to show for it, Quinn is certainly on the hot seat. Given how Dolan cleaned house up top, aside from Drury, there’s a strong possibility Quinn could be next. But if Drury, who has come off as a fan of Quinn, is the one calling the shots, he could get another season to prove himself.
Q: How come Drury remains while the others were let go?
A: Drury has proven to be a highly valued asset to the organization. When he was considered a top candidate for the vacant GM job in Pittsburgh, Drury said he wasn’t interested in leaving New York and was rewarded with a promotion to associate general manager. A former Rangers captain and Hobey Baker Award winner, Drury is the guy the organization wants to lead the way.
Q: How does this change the trajectory of the rebuild? Is there going to be a “win now” mandate.
A: Given that the basis of the dismissals was due to a disagreement into how far along the rebuild is, as well as Dolan’s disappointment in missing the playoffs this year, Drury will likely be expected to wrap up the reconstruction and turn the team into Stanley Cup contenders as soon as possible. If making the playoffs was the ultimate goal for this season, it will be a requirement next year.
Q: What can we expect this offseason?
A: The incident with Wilson showed a glaring need for more grit in the lineup. For as many skill players as Gorton added to the roster in the last few drafts, there is a clear lack of experienced and heavy skaters. The team is expected to address these areas.