Jeff Gorton, Rangers

What Jeff Gorton said about the season, Henrik and more

Rangers GM Jeff Gorton met with the media following breakup day and said (MSG):

  • On the year, “any time you miss the playoffs it becomes a long season but for us it was a positive season, we played a lot of young players, a lot of them developing before our eyes. Encouraged with a lot that we are seeing and feel that we are moving forward with what we are doing. Feel really good about our coaching staff and David and what they were able to establish. For me it’s a positive season, if you look over the course of the year you saw a team that competed hard every night, we were in every game and that will bode well moving forward.”
  • Where are you in the rebuild, “it’s hard to say that we are right where we want to be becasue there are a lot of moving parts and things that will happen this summer, we have more young players coming. I like to think that we are in a good spot and moving in the right direction, our young players are developing and getting but as far as where we are in the plan, we are on target and moving in the right direction. Timelines and all that, we will let that play out and there are a lot of things that can happen this summer to speed that up and we will be looking at all those situations.”
  • Do you expect any drastic changes, “no, as we set out to rebuild this team, sometimes we have to remind ourselves that it’s only a little over a year into that. We have added a number of young pieces, they’ve played NHL games and are developing. We have a number of draft picks coming again over the next couple of years. This is the day after the season so I feel good about where our young players are at their development and we move forward.”
  • On accelerating things, “a lot of times other factors dictate what you are going to do. We are at a place where we have to look at everything, free agency, trades, the draft, we will look at all of those things to improve our team but I do think we will try to do everything we can to advance it a little bit.”
  • On Vitali Kravtsov, “we are still talking to him and trying to get him over here.”
  • On the draft for this year, “you go through a tough year and one of the good things that comes from that is that you have a chance to get a good player, we are going to have a top-ten pick again, it’s on us to make the most of it. By all accounts it’s a deep draft and look forward to seeing some of these players as they finish up the year. We are going to the U-18s in a couple of weeks.”
  • On Glen Sather stepping down as President, “Glen hired me to come here, gave me every opportunity and promoted me to GM. Obviously I have some great thoughts about Glen and it’s tough to see him go that way. At the same time we look forward to what is next and go forward when that happens.”
  • On David Quinn, “I’m really impressed with David and his staff, you could see early on that he was going to hold players accountable and he never backed off over the course of the year with ups and downs and tough stretches. Accountability was always there, he is steadfast in how he wants his team to play and I just like his communication skills, everyone knows where they stand, I like how our team plays and the energy he brings and I think he is going to be a real good coach in this league for a long time.”
  • Did you expect this season, “In some ways I think we overachieved in certain areas as far as our team and in some ways I would have liked to have seen some more. You always hope for the best and hope that even with a young team there is a chance to make the playoffs. We didn’t and you are disappointed but for the most part we have to look at this as a positive year with where we are at and where we are going.”
  • Where did you overachieve, “I think that last year at this time I felt like we didn’t have enough players play to their potential. I think that this year look at a player like Mika and a career year and see how he evolved, that is a great sign for us, I don’t think even we expected that. I think that Georgiev’s emergence, some of those things are maybe ahead of where we thought they’d be and encouraging for the future.”
  • On Strome and Lemieux, “I think both showed signs of being part of a winning team. With Strome it’s exciting that he came in and did what he was able to do and become an effective player where coach used him in all areas. With Lemieux it’s a player where we covet that kind of style and someone that will play like that, physical every night. I think he has some upside offensively, it looks like he can be a piece for us going forward.”
  • Was he as advertised, “I think so, we really just got the player and he is figuring it out and there are things we have to work on with his conditioning, we will ask more of him this summer to train like that. We are learning more about him but the signs are really good.”
  • Do you have green light to make moves without a President, “yea, we are going to go forward. There is a trade deadline so I can’t do too much there but as far as day to day business, year, we are as is.”
  • On Georgiev and Shesterkin, “I don’t think so, we will try to get him over as quick as we can, sooner than later and see where he is at. You just never know if you can get them over here and then how long it takes to adjust, the game over here is very different.”
  • On Chris Kreider’s season, “he had a great first half, on pace for 35/maybe 40 goals. Obviously he was hurt and not as effective and that was obvious. For the most part it was a really encouraging season for him, it’s hard to score in this league and he scored 28. I think he has been pretty consistent and he looked like he was going to have a career year and altered by injuries a bit but for the most part he had a good year.”
  • On Zibanejad, “We just talked to him, and he said it best, he thinks he is just scratching the surface. He’s done wonders for himself as far as his conditioning, he is quicker and faster and more confident, the points are there, he has been pretty impressive with a lot of high end plays but in his own end he really took a step forward and has become a 200ft player and a center with nearly a point per game is hard to find at his age. I’m encouraged that he is only going to get better.”
  • Do you hope to not have to sell at the deadline again, “you don’t really want to be in that position or do that, I can’t predict the future but I’d like to be in a spot next year where we don’t do that.”
  • On Kreider’s future, “we are 24 hours from our season ending, not even, there are questions there but Chris is a goal scorer and they are hard to find and we will figure out what is the appropriate way to go here in the coming weeks.”
  • On analytics informing decisions, “we listen to everybody and look at all facets of the way you should look at it. We have an analytics department and we look at everything they say, we look at everything we can and talk to people and look at all types of that. It’s a piece and there are analytic people at our table helping us make decisions.”
  • On Henrik, “he went to the All-Star game and we kind of forget that, obviously he was really good in the beginning of the year and then it became difficult. As we were starting to trade some of his friends again and the season with how it was unfolding, I think it was a lot for him mentally to go through that again and it was difficult and showed in his play but when I think of his season I think of how good he was at the beginning of the year and it didn’t go well for our team from the deadline on and he is no different than any player. The guy is still a great goalie, I’m convinced of that and I just think that it didn’t go his way the last few games and I look for him to be great again.”
  • On Henrik’s presence, “any time you have a guy, he’s going to be a Hall of Fame player, he’s been a franchise player for a long time and any time you have a player like that in an organization it’s important. He has the respect of everyone in the room and everyone in the organization and you can see that everywhere he goes, he has been a stand up guy for his organization and everyone has been better because he has been in it.”
  • “In general the meetings, we have frustrated player that want to be playing and be on the ice in the playoffs. It’s two years in a row for the organization to not make the playoffs, there is frustration, you can feel how badly they want to turn it around as quick as we can. We are all on that same page. As far as David and I being on the same page, we are completely. Most players are the same, very honest and know what they have to do better. I’d say that is 99% of the time, it’s rare that you get a player that doesn’t know what he needs to do.”
  • Do you have any lucky charm for the lottery, “I do have something I am going to bring, sworn to secrecy that I can’t show it until we win. I’ll bring something special, I can guarantee that.”
  • Same thing you brought last year, “no, we didn’t win, wouldb’t be very superstitious, we will start something new.”