Rangers fans have a tough time agreeing on a blue print for turning the organization into a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Some want to blow the team up and start from scratch, while others feel a few moves to an already skilled roster would transform the Blueshirts into a top tier team.
However, one thing we can universally agree on is that Glen Sather has worn out his welcome. 13 years and just five playoff series victories isn't going to cut it. Sather said this offseason that coaches like John Tortorella have a shelf life, but I think we all know that Sather's has long since expired.
Unfortunately, Rangers owner James Dolan has recently given Sather a vote of confidence in the form of a job for life. So there's no sign of him being fired soon.
Having said that, Sather is 70 and recently needed surgery for prostate cancer. So the idea of him stepping down in the near future may not be so far fetched.
So the question then would be, who's going to replace him?
The most popular answer would be current assistant GM Jeff Gorton, who has prior experience as the GM in Boston and is said to be basically running the show for Sather anyway.
However, Adam Proteau at The Hockey News feels there could be a greater candidate.
Yes, Proteau feels that Wayne Gretzky could be a serious contender to replace Sather…
"We all know how franchise owner James Dolan loves putting former-star athletes in charge of his Madison Square Garden empire’s teams and Gretzky fits that bill perfectly. His presence in the world’s biggest media market undoubtedly would be welcomed by league brass as well. Gretzky doesn’t have NHL GM experience per se, but was director of hockey operations for the Coyotes and famously constructed Canada’s 2002 Olympic gold-medal-winning team. The Rangers also represent something Gretzky never had in Phoenix: an unlimited ownership checkbook allowing him to be as creative and aggressive as he wishes."
Proteau adds that there have been no reports of the Rangers possible interest in Gretzky, who was one of the names mentioned for the Blueshirts head coach vacancy this offseason, as the heir to Sather's throne.
…sure Gretzky would be a sexy pick as the next GM of the Rangers. He'd be a great ambassador of the game and likely spread the popularity of hockey in the New York area. But I'm sorry, I don't want my GM to be a marketing tool. I want a guy who will put his nose to the grindstone and do whatever it takes to build a winner at Madison Square Garden. My worry is that Gretzky will spend more time being paraded around than on the phone with fellow GMs trying to make the Rangers better.
…and if the Rangers are going to go the super star GM route, I'd much rather they bring back Messier, who has a much better understanding of the organization through his past role as special assistant to Sather.
…while I'm starting to get giddy just thinking about the idea of a successor to Sather, I know this is probably a scenario that won't play out for a number of years. Ugh.
H/T to reader Mattias D.