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2020-21 Rangers

What Jeff Gorton said after the trade deadline

Jeff Gorton spoke after today’s trade deadline passed and said (NYR):

  • On not making a move, “We didn’t do a deal today, really, we made a number of calls, took a number of calls, went through a number of scenarios. I think it’s clear that we have a plan in place and nothing that came along was going to add to what we wanted to do and was something we thought was going to help short-term or long-term. That is probably why the biggest reason why today we didn’t make a deal.”

  • Where are you in the process right now, “I think there are a few things in play, over the last few years we’ve had several UFAs and the timing was right to move for some assets. Our team has a lot of young players that we like and are happy with and not interested in trading and we have some NHL players that have been in the league for a while that we weren’t comfortable moving off of. I think it says we are moving in the right direction, there is a lot to be thankful for and be excited about going forward. As we move forward, there wasn’t a deal in place right now and we are happy with our team as is for now.”
  • Did you get interest in Tony DeAngelo, “I’ve had some conversations with some teams about Tony, but nothing really ever materialized and nothing lately. That will be a summer issue we will do with.”
  • Can you address signing Zac Jones, “As far as Zac, I’ve heard what is out there. I’m not prepared to talk about that, if and when Zac signs as a Ranger I’d be more than happy to talk to you about the signing.”
  • Was it difficult not to make a short-term move, “I think it’s always hard to look at trying to do two different things at once. The focus really was not going for rentals, you see most of the trades today were rental market trades, really wasn’t interested in renting players. As you look at our team right now, there is a lot of good things happening, a lot of people are getting added ice time and doing well with it. I didn’t want to bring in players to take away from that. I think our team is playing well. We have a big stretch coming up and we take it day by day. I’ll be curious to see our team over the next 15 games to see how we respond to playing these games and where to take it from there.”
  • How important is it to make the playoffs, “It’s a good question. Our focus has been that we are trying to get better all the time, we are trying to play as many meaningful games, take one day at a time as we can and then let the chips fall where they may. We are in a very difficult division and we’ve hung in there pretty well. We have 15 games to go, a big week coming up and obviously a lot of games coming with Jersey, we will focus on that and see what happens. I’m happy that our games are meaningful, our guys are developing, you are seeing these young kids get better and our team is playing as good as we have maybe all year.”
  • What is your assessment of the season, “I would say,  a lot of times it depends, when you ask that question it depends on the timing. I think that based on the two games we just played against the Islanders I’m really happy with the way things are going. The young kids, you are seeing the strides they are making and the opportunities they are getting and it’s hard not to feel good about the Rangers future and where it’s headed. There have been some tough losses, I think that a week ago, if you asked me after the Buffalo where we lost in a shootout, you probably would have got me at the wrong time and unhappy with what is going on. As a whole I really believe that our team is moving in the right direction, that there is a lot to be excited about and I’m excited about what is next and this week and where we are going.”
  • Is it likely that Nils Lundkvist comes over this season, “We have talked to him, obviously, a number of times and he’s had a great year and great career over there. I think that the way it works in Europe, it’s difficult to get top players over here at the end of the season because of the World Championships and we are pretty certain that he is going to be part of that mix. Our focus is that when he comes over it will be for next season, but we are watching every game like everybody else and really excited about what we are seeing and the time that he can become a Ranger.”
  • On Alexis Lafreniere, “I think it’s predictable in a lot of ways. Early on, after not having played for a year. I think early on predictable, as of late I think you are seeing big strides, his game is coming, the last few games in particular he’s been an offensive threat almost every shift. That line has played really well. I’m really excited. The competitiveness shows through on most nights, his skill is off the charts and you are just starting to see. A lot of times you look and you see, let’s say Kravtsov a year later, the difference is remarkable to all of our eyes, that is exciting. Kakko, in one year’s time, how much better he is and his 200-ft game and to think that what Alexis will be in a year’s time, it’s hard not to be excited. Overall, we watch him every day in practice do special things, we know it’s only a matter of time before you are seeing it in games like we see it. We are really excited where he is at.”
  • Do you expect Morgan Barron to be up at some point, “Morgan has played extremely well. We have four recalls, so it will be hopeful to get him an opportunity or anybody who deserves it down there. We will keep him down there for now and see how he does, but he’s certainly opened our eyes with what he’s done. We are looking at that along with some other players.”
  • Are the young guys in Hartford getting the same development they would in a normal year, “I think so. There is obviously more practice time, no more than two games a week, which is difficult, they are only playing a 24-game season. It’s not exactly what we want, but I do believe that the staff down there and our development staff is doing a really good job of keeping them engaged, using the practice time, the time off the ice in the gym, doing all the things we can to make them all better. If you look down there, they are probably playing better than they have all year and a lot of those guys have turned the corner and are playing well.”
  • Were there some lower-profile moves you opted not to make because you are in a playoff race, “there is a lot of rental players out there, I think you are seeing more of them being announced. Those opportunities were all there. Did we want to bring in a defenseman and take away from Libor and his development, did we want to bring in someone else to change the Chytil line right now, those are all things we had to go through as we are looking at that. How much better were they gonna make us versus development? Those are all questions we are asking on every call we are taking. At the end of the day the rental market didn’t seem like a place at the right time for us.”
  • Has Adam Fox exceeded expectations, “I think he’s better, I’m not that smart. We knew he was talented,  we watched him a lot, knew he was from the area, knew a lot about him as a person, there is a lot that goes into it, he played at the US program, World Juniors, Harvard, we are all friendly with Teddy Donato. We had a really good book on him, but anybody that tells you they know what a guy is going to do in the NHL might be fibbing a little bit. His hockey sense, his compete is sneaky good, there is not a lot of holes in his game. He’s fit in really well and we are proud of where he is at and I believe he can get better, there are some areas that I know Adam knows he can get better at and will get better at. Great acquisition for us to have him at his age and just excited what the ceiling could be for him.”