How should New York Ranger fans grade out Jeff Gorton's first "big task" as a Ranger Assistant General Manager? Not sure how they would but from this point of view it was very much an A+.
No it is not just because he was able to get Brandon Dubinsky signed, sealed and delivered without going through an arbitration hearing.
It was how he got to make that deal in which impressed us the most. Everybody came away happy with the outcome as the Rangers have locked up last year's leading scorer until he is 29 and even better has formed a framework for Ryan Callahan's contract.
It was a willingness to keep working on a deal and building up a level of trust with Dubinsky and his agent that convinced them to postpone their arbitration hearing. Now that is something that you don't always ever see in the NHL as typically once it gets close to the time of the hearing then both sides give up and head to the hearing.
Remember these are the Glen Sather Rangers; the ones with the rep for low-balling their own while breaking the bank for unrestricted free agents. With Glen Sather off on his annual fishing vacation there was a mostly unsupervised Jeff Gorton getting Dubinsky a contract that helps both sides.
Going to give Gorton some serious credit here as he took what was looking as a bleak moment and sparked a late game comeback to earn a win. The Rangers have to be happy with a 4.2 cap hit as it sets the stage for Ryan Callahan's deal that also should carry a cap friendly hit to it.
But by keeping Dubinsky's cap hit in the same area as Marc Staals then the Rangers are also sending a message throughout the entire system that the Rangers will pay if they produce. That one is important considering that after the 2011-2012 season is when the current NHL/NHLPA CBA expires.
The Rangers have sent a message to the Stepan's and McDonagh's that if you produce then here is the line in which we are going to pay you as you gain experience. Play hard, produce and we will pay you well which really is the way the Rangers should have been doing since the day Glen Sather started.
Gorton's hard work allows the Rangers to once again show off their "core foundation" as homegrown and one really should not just dismiss that so easily. Yes Richards and Gaborik will remain the stars but the Rangers are turning the leadership of this franchise to a new generation.
And Gorton's promotion to Assistant General Manager puts a wild card into play for when Glen Sather retires. The Rangers do not put post biographies for their front office staff but it was not hard to find out the ages of the top guys
Sather is 67, Schoenfeld is 58 as is Gordie Clark but Gorton is just 42. As in 42 with 19 years of NHL front office experience under his belt.
And we are talking 19 good years of experience; 7 years as an AGM with Boston; with Boston did the same job that Jim Schoenfeld does now with the Rangers. When he was the Interim GM of the Bruins in 2006 at the age of 36, he ran their 2006 draft, made the infamous Rask for Raycroft deal (steal if you are a Bruin).
Gorton as we have mentioned on other occasions ran the memorable 2006 draft for the Bruins that netted them Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand. 6 picks and 4 of them have played in the NHL (remember Gordie Clark says if you can get just 1 guy to make the NHL it is a winning draft).
Gorton also computerized how the Bruins scouted creating a database for the scouts to work off of so let us not be so hasty to turn over the reins to Mark Messier just yet. But as his old friend Gordie Clark says " you are only as good as your last move" so he still has to deliver on Ryan Callahan.
If Gorton does then the Ranger fans can just start the countdown until September 8 or 9th when Ranger prospects report for Traverse City (it is T-minus 45 days and counting).
(Gordie Clark, JT Miller and Jeff Gorton courtesy of the New York Rangers)
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