Suffice to say that a 3-0 series deficit was not the plan. The powerplay is more miserable than it has ever been, and that is saying a lot. Brad Richards has, in one season, gone from playoff hero to playoff zero. Injuries are affecting important players. The Rangers look like a team with no confidence.
That being said, at some point we have to acknowledge that the Bruins are a good team. A really good team. A really, really good team. They have the right combination of high-end talent along with strong depth and a confident, talented goaltender. This is a team that won the Stanley Cup two seasons ago and could be on their way to another one. Jeff Gorton was GM of the Bruins for not even four full months, yet is a big reason behind the success of this Bruins team. Jeff Gorton is also the current Assistant General Manager of the New York Rangers. Ironically, the Bruins' beating up on the Rangers, though far from preferable, does in some sense give hope for the future. Let's look at Gorton's tenure with the Bruins and then analyze what it means for the Rangers.
Jeff Gorton was named interim General Manager of the Boston Bruins on March 25th, 2006, after the Bruins got rid of previous GM Mike O'Connell, who made a slew of questionable moves. Most notable was the trade of captain and franchise center Joe Thornton for an incredibly underwhelming package. And so began Jeff Gortan's short-lived but incredibly important tenure as Bruins GM.
Gorton made one very significant and bold trade. Andrew Raycroft was the 2004 Calder winner and appeared to be the team's long-term solution in goal. He struggled in the 2005-2006 season, however, and Gorton moved him to division rival Toronto. A move that surely could have backfired, Raycroft instead imploded in Toronto, lasting one season as the starter and two seasons on the team in total. He would spend the rest of his NHL career as a respectable backup goaltender but a backup goaltender nonetheless. He is now playing in Italy.
So selling Raycroft while he had value was a wise move. And what did Gorton receive in return? A goaltending prospect named Tuukka Rask. The Tuukka Rask that is arguably the best young goaltender in the world right now and the Tuukka Rask currently stonewalling the Rangers. Gorton won the trade by a wide margin.
Glen Sather's Achilees' heel has been free agency. He's made some good signings for sure. But when he misses… oh boy does he miss. Jeff Gorton had about two weeks to work the market and he did a pretty superb job. Marc Savard was above a point-per-game in each of his first three seasons. Unfortunately, concussions prematurely ended his career and prevented him from being a part of the cup-winning Bruins, but it was still a successful signing.
His other big signing was absolutely a part of bringing the Stanley Cup to Boston. Gorton gave Zdeno Chara a monster contract and gave him the responsibility of team captain. Chara has been an All-Star every season, won the Norris Trophy in 2009, and obviously was a big reason why the Bruins won the Stanley Cup.
Gorton had one draft as Bruins GM. And while scouts have a very big impact on what players are picked, the GM is still ultimately in charge of selections and the philosophy of what types of players to take. Boston had six picks in the 2006 draft and walked away with Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand. Kessel has been an All-Star and allowed the Bruins to acquire Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, who will both be very good players for a long time. Lucic and Marchand were both key parts of the Bruins Stanley Cup winning team and continue to be important players today.
Which leads us to Jeff Gorton today. Now Assistant General Manager, he already has a pretty important role with the Rangers. However, Glen Sather isn't getting any younger and will give up General Manager duties in the near future. It's a pretty poorly kept secret that Jeff Gorton is lined up to take over the position. There are never any guarantees, but it's a safe bet that Gorton will be the next General Manager of the New York Rangers when Glen Sather steps away; probably within next few years. Current Boston GM Peter Chiarelli has absolutely played his part in making the Bruins a Cup winner and current contender. But none of that happens if not for the magic Jeff Gorton worked in only a few months as interim GM. Rask, Chara, Lucic, Seguin, Hamilton, and Marchand are all important players for the Bruins, both now and for the future. And most of these guys are hurting the Rangers right now. Gorton will have ownership of the keys very soon, and if this current Bruins team that is beating up on the Rangers is any indicator, then the organization will be in very good hands.
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