Jeff Gorton on adding players, the draft and more

Jeff Gorton spoke with Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti prior to Saturday’s game against the Leafs and said the following about where the Rangers are (MSG):

  • On the Rangers level of scouting, “we have a lot of people in a lot of rinks after getting all of these picks. We are trying to get as many viewings as possible and it looks like another good draft, I’m excited about what lies ahead.”
  • On the progress of the young players, “I think that for the most part it’s really positive, if you look at each guy you see some peaks and valleys but for the most part, for kids that are 19-20-21 years old, some of the things they have done have been impressive.”

  • How do the young players impact future moves, “We look at every thing, see where things are at. Is Chytil going to be a center or wing, where does Howden fit in, Lias, we are going through all of these different scenarios and right now they all look good at times and tonight will be another test for where they are at.”
  • On the final games this season, “the biggest thing is to give them the ability to play against good players, NHL players and see where they are at. These are tough games, you wanna be playing for the playoffs, the thing we all want to do is be winning and right now the best we can do is have these guys show us that they play hard, show us that they belong, show us they want to be here in the future and there are a lot of guys playing for something and that is the important part.”
  • On Vitali Kravtsov, “he had a really good year in the KHL, for a young player to just about lead his team in scoring, at the World Junior to be so effective, they moved him to center and he did a good job, we are excited to get him over here as soon as we can, I know his contract ends soon to see if we can get that job done.”
  • On the plan for the draft, “I think as we go about this process we want to get better everyday and the only way to do that is to get assets, get good young players. To go a few years there without first round picks was difficult but here we are a few years later and to have two, maybe three-four more is exciting for us to get that caliber of player, we will be in the top-ten this year and that is what we need to do, that is our way back.”
  • On the young veterans, “Pavel in particular has really come on and is scoring goals and you see his skill level, he has been really consistent physically and that is nice to see. With Neal, maybe as we look back on the season he was playing a lot of minutes against the best players in the league and that is a lot to ask of a player really in his first year in the league. If you look at him, I think he is in the 20s for points and I think he has a nice future for us in the NHL, he’s a hard working kid that can play against good players, he will keep getting player.”
  • On Libor Hajek’s season, “we go down to Hartford and you hope they are adjusting to the game and the smaller rink and hope that PP, PK, he is making the most of those opportunities but he came up here he seemed to slow it down a little bit more, didn’t look out of place and really excited for what is to come with Libor.”
  • Do you have a vision for what the Rangers could look like in the future, “We do, we want to be a hard team to play against and that can mean different things, we want to be skilled, fast, really compettive team with hockey sense, we are trying to add those players all the time. Some of the top teams like Tampa and Toronto and Boston are really deep, they play a good structure but they are skilled players. We want to get as many skill players, do anything to win and that is what we are trying to do.”
  • On draft strategy, “I’ve been asked this a lot and it’s not football where you have a need and a guy comes in right away in most cases, we have to take the best player and in the end, if we keep doing that I think that is the best way to go to build our team. If we keep taking the best player then 2-3-4 years down the road we will be a better team because we took the right person.”
  • Do you like how the draft looks this year, “we do, spent a lot of time with the scouts, in the last few days in particular, and they like the depth of the draft and we will have a top-10 pick. They are excited and even later on in the 20s and 2nd, 3rd round, our guys are very comfortable that they will get some good players.”