What Jeff Gorton and John Davidson said on Monday

Jeff Gorton and John Davidson met with the media on Monday and said (MSG):

  • JD | On signing Panarin, “You think of Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, Kravtsov amongst many other young players, when you add someone like Panarin to it, he’s 27, averaged 80 points, a healthy body, we know he wants to be here in New York, specifically with the Rangers, it’s a perfect fit. The idea of the build is to get picks and Jeff really did a good job, he and his stuff of gathering picks and then you go through the draft and development and as you do this you try to find ways to make it happen even quicker and better and with these type of things, it’s all falling into place. I’m ecstatic about getting Panarin here to join this group, I think he falls right into our plan.”
  • JD | On his relationship with Panarin, “That goes two ways. I think he has always wanted, and he’s made it very vocal, that he wanted to be in a big city and there is no bigger city than NY. In talking with us he talked about how he wants to win and he talked about Mark Messier and what Messier did with the Rangers to get into the winning part of the business.”
  • Jeff Gorton | On Panarin, “we had a great meeting with him when he came in and right away you could sense his enthusiasm for the Rangers, the city, the big stage, his knowledge of the game and our team, it all shined right through and right away it was pretty exciting to hear what he had to say.”
  • Jeff Gorton | Did you draw a line with his contract, “With all players in the market you go in knowing what the cost might be and you make your decisions but you certainly have to draw a line. He’s a player we coveted and wanted and we are happy with the results.”
  • Jeff Gorton | On where the rebuild is, “John alluded to getting better everyday and what we did today makes us better but again, we have a lot of young players and one of the reasons we made this move was to help with their development. We have a lot of work to do here, we are on a good path, our goal is to get better everyday and that is what we try to do.”
  • Jeff Gorton | When did you know you were getting him, “I would say that we didn’t really know until after 12PM today.”
  • Jeff Gorton | Are the terms seven-years for $81.5, “That is accurate.”
  • JD | On the whole process, “when you sit with your group and have meetings and talk about all the free agents to be and we have thoughts on many things. This is a process that goes through the whole organization. It starts with Mr. Dolan and he worked with us. Everyone worked hand in hand and these things take a long time and it’s 3-4 days worth of meetings to get this thing to completion.”
  • JD | Did you knowing him add to his comfort level, “I think it helped but I’m not going to say that I was a deciding factor for him. He knows hockey, the Rangers, Original Six, NYC, MSG, he’s a very thoughtful individual. He had two years in Chicago that were terrific, he was loved in Columbus and I loved being part of that organization when he was there. He had the right to do what he wanted to do and he decided to come to a bigger city. He had told us exactly that in Columbus but he stuck with what he wanted to do and he’s a New York Ranger and we couldn’t be happier.”
  • JD | Was there a plan B, “Our plan was to stick to our plan no matter what happened. We felt that with Artemi he was part of our plan, he’s 27-years old and we think his prime is ahead of him and he will fit nicely. That is the idea. When you get into the game plan, you have to find the right pieces at the right time and this popped up and it’s right for us.”
  • Jeff Gorton | On the rest of the offseason, “As you look at free agency there were very few players that we looked at that would be part of what we wanted to accomplish. This is a guy we set out to acquire and thankfully it all worked out.”
  • JD | On Panarin’s upbringing, “I know a little bit about it, he was raised primarily in a small area of Russia by his grandfather. He would take long rides in a beat up car to go to practice or play in games or take the bus. His grandparents took the time to sew money to his waistband so he wouldn’t be robbed and things along those lines. One of the other stories is that he had skates and sometimes they didn’t fit right and he would put on layers of socks or a shoe and then put it in the skate and that might be one of the reasons why he has such balance in his skating stride because all of that stuff. It’s really quite a story to where he has come from to today. He’s a young man that always has a smile on his face, he loves to score, loves to win and I think he is going to love everything about playing for the New York Rangers.”
  • Jeff Gorton | What does this mean for Chris Kreider, “we’ve had a couple of chats with Chris’ group and where it goes with any of our players, we will take some time to figure that out. Today is a big day in getting Panarin but we will move forward in the next few days and start to figure out what is next and where we go from here. Chris, in particular, is a really good player and a player we like a lot and we will continue to talk to his agent and Chris and see what his next.”
  • Jeff Gorton | What kind of influence do you think Panarin will have on the younger players, “it’s something we thought about a lot, his impact on the entire group. We have some Russian young players that are coming into pro hockey and some guys that have been here, I think it will be positive. From what I know and talking to JD about the player, he’s a guy that has an infectious personality, he makes players better and he’s going to help us in a lot of ways with a lot of different players.”
  • JD | On Panarin being a leader, “Artem is a very well conditioned athlete, he trains hard, he’s had really strong good injury history, not a lot of it, he plays the game the right why, he’s a goal scorer but he can dish the puck very very well. He can do good things on the PP, there is really no maintenance to him when it comes to coaching staff or management staff with how he plays. One thing that is good about it is…we are going to have some young people in the lineup, this isn’t going to be easy, it’s hard when you go through growing pains with young, and these aren’t just young players, these are really young players…Artem loves the stage, loves big moments in games. He’s that type of player, when you see him play, the fans are going to enjoy it, he can be electrifying at times. As we get this all going and young players see how he plays, I think it will be infectious and infectious for the fans to watch but, keep in mind, this is a process and we are going through it and he will be part of it just like the other people, like Jacob Trouba. Jeff did a magnificent job in to finding a young right handed defenseman that can skate, has size, these are pieces that fit a puzzle and we are trying to get that puzzle completed the proper way as quickly as possible.”
  • Jeff Gorton | On the negotiations with Trouba, “I’ve had really good conversations with those guys, moving in the right direction and I think it will continue to do so. All of our conversations are about how much he wants to be part of it in NY and the Rangers. Everything is positive and we are looking forward.”
  • Jeff Gorton | Were you surprised MTL used an offer sheet, “I’m not surprised, it’s in the CBA and an avenue for teams to go down. There has been a lot of chatter over the last year or so that these are coming so you have an idea these might happen and today we saw what happened and we will see.”
  • Jeff Gorton | What made Panarin stand out the most, “the combination of his skill, age, ability to make people better, he’s a goal scorer and a playmaker, PP driver, puck possession driver. His age and background and that we feel has a lot of years left, for us he was the number one guy and those are the biggest reasons why.”
  • JD | On what excites Panarin about being a Ranger, “there is something special about Panarin and the way he plays the game and the way he looks and thinks about it and watching him play in big spots, he just loves playing. I think the idea of him knowing that he has a seven-year contract, to move to NY, enjoy what it has to offer and play in an atmosphere that is electric. He has mentioned about MSG before and asked me what it was like as an ex-player playing here and there are a lot of great places to play but he was interested in the big city and MSG and the history. I just sense that this is something he wants to achieve and be part of. This is not going to be easy, it’s really hard to win in this league and when you put these pieces together, some pop earlier than others, we have a lot of youth, we want Artem to be part of this and when these players pop he is still going to be in his prime and I think he is excited about that. I think it’s a win-win for him and our hockey club.”

John Davidson was on the MSG 150 on Monday night and said:

  • “To running the Blue Jackets like I was and understanding that Artem wanted to leave and go to a bigger city, it was very disappointing and then here I am today with the Rangers and, what do you know? We have Artem as part of our organization and I’m ecstatic. He’s a great kid, plays the game hard, plays the right way, as creative as they come. This is going to be a big part of our team trying to build into a championship team. He’s all-in, we are all-in, it should be fun.”
  • On his durability, “he’s played four-years in the NHL and before that he was playing in Russia where they don’t have the long-long schedules like we do over here. I think that when you look at him and his injury history, touch wood, it’s all good. These things do play into it. He’s very well conditioned, strong on the puck for someone that is 5-11. Very hard to take the puck away from, brilliant passer, creative player, knows how to conserve energy on the ice, all of these types of things. I think we are very satisfied with that. I know there are going to be questions about the build going on with the Rangers and him being 27-year old, we have kids that are 18-years old and all the way up. I think that Artem is going to be a player that is just getting into his prime, we think he has years and years left and when these kids pop that are 18-19 right now and become 22-23-24 he is still going to be a very good player and we are excited about it.”
  • On him as a person, “good person and you don’t want people to be part of your team that are not going to be positive with the culture. He’s a good person, loves to win, loves to score, he’s got an infectious smile with how he goes about his business. He can, like any other athlete if it’s not going well, get frustrated and that is human nature and natural but all in all he works hard on the ice, off the ice, loves to move the puck and interact with teammates on the ice. All of these boxes get checked. I know that in Columbus his girlfriend, who is also from across the ocean, was very involved with various charities that the Blue Jackets were involved with and they like living life and as he said, he had to make a decision where it’s either a seven-year decision with a new team or eight-years in Columbus and that is a good chunk of one’s life and he wanted to make sure that he could go and play hard where he wanted to live. Sure enough it’s right here in NY with the Rangers.”
  • On Mika Zibanejad and Panarin, “that will be up to the coaching staff and Quinny and the gang to figure out combinations but I will say that when we met with Artem at MSG a few days ago, he knew the lineup and the team and that we are going to be young and I think that with how he works and plays the game, when you have Buchnevich and Kravtsov and others, they are going to be able to learn from this fella, learn how he plays and how he looks at the game and that will be great for these players to learn from.”
  • On the process, “the process is one where you try to create a real good culture from within, the players themselves and how it all gels and works together. Before I got here they were well on their way. The keys are to get picks and make the most of your picks and then along the way you do what you have to do and use your means to get development coaches and strength coaches and on-ice coaches and off-ice coaches to try to develop the right way and the quicker the better. The Trouba trade was something that was really good for this team, a perfect fit and he’s going to be a good player for us for a long time and then you think of the draft and free agency and we have been able to bring Panarin in. It’s July 1 and I think this team has had a great offseason but these things take time. You take steps forward, which are the most important things, you will take some back but as long as you take more forward than back you are getting there and that is what we are going to keep trying to do.’