In a very surprising move, the New York Rangers have fired general manager Jeff Gorton and president John Davidson right before the end of the 2020-21 season. The Rangers announced they have been replaced by Chris Drury who will now serve as the president and general manager, effective immediately.
"We want to thank JD and Jeff for their contributions to the organization. They are both great hockey professionals who worked hard for the Rangers, however, in order for the team to succeed in the manner our fans deserve, there needs to be a change in leadership," James L. Dolan, executive chairman, MSG Sports and Rangers owner, said in a statement. "Chris is a very sought-after executive and a strong leader, who has proven himself to be one of the top young minds in hockey. We are confident he will effectively guide the team to ensure the long-term success we promised Rangers fans."
It's not clear why Gorton and Davidson were let go considering they were in the early stages of a rebuild, as mentioned by ESPN. The timing of this is interesting, considering the team called out the NHL Department of Player Safety George Parros after the league did not suspend Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for attacking two Rangers players Monday night. It was reported that Dolan issued the statement to the NHL, not Gorton or Davidson.
Drury, a former Rangers player, was getting interest from other teams to be their general manager over the last two years. He turned them down to remain the Rangers' assistant GM. He is currently in his sixth season as part of the Rangers front office and was promoted to associate GM in January. As a player, Drury was a member of the Rangers for four seasons and also spent time with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres.
If the Rangers are looking for another executive, they could turn to team legend Mark Messier who is ready to help any when he can. "I've made it very clear that I've been standing by, ready to help out in any way, for many years, so ... other than that I don't really know what else to say," Messier said on the Michael Kay Show on 987.7 ESPN in New York. The Rangers will not make the playoffs this season, finishing with a 26-21-6 record.