Larry Brooks tweets that the Rangers “dismissed” Director of European Scouting Nickolai Bobrov.
Bobrov had been in his role for the past six seasons and was one of Jeff Gorton’s first hires when he became GM.
The Rangers media guide says that Bobrov was “responsible for covering all European territories.”
Brooks says that President and GM Chris Drury will “oversee” the upcoming draft with Director of North American scouting Chris Morehouse and with “input” from the Rangers European scouts.
Morehouse joined the Rangers shortly after John Davidson was named President.
Adam Rotter: So much of the Rangers front office, from scouts to consultants, are holdovers not just from Jeff Gorton, but from Glen Sather’s time as GM. Gordie Clark, who ran the draft and was Director of Player Personnel for more than 10 years, 19 overall in the organization, had his role adjusted to “Pro Scout & Advisor, Amateur Scouting” prior to this season, Kevin Maxwell has been Director of Pro Scouting for 10 years and just finished his 13th with the team. Mike Barnett, formerly the Coyotes GM and Wayne Gretzky’s agent, and Doug Risebrough, former Wild GM, have been Senior Advisor and Hockey Consultant for 12 seasons.
My point is that Chris Drury is probably looking for new voices, new processes, and new ways to run the Rangers. Drury has worked with all of these people for the past six seasons and the past five as assistant GM so he knows who does what, who brings what, and which areas can be improved.
We know that Drury has to hire at least one assistant GM and probably someone to promote or replace Bobrov. Some expect that Brad Richards, who has been in an advisor role for the past four seasons, could see increased responsibility and Mike Grier replaced Brian Leetch and Leetch decided to leave his advisor role. Since Drury has only worked for the Rangers the only places to look for hints as to who may come in are his former teammates or people from USA Hockey. Danny Briere, who is the GM of an ECHL team that is owned by the Flyers, but the Rangers affiliate, has been speculated as someone who could join as well.
So why was Bobrov let go? I don’t know, but clearly, Drury thinks that someone else should be in charge of European scouting. 5 of the Rangers 8 first round picks since 2017 were from Europe (Lias Andersson, Filip Chytil, Vitali Kravtsov, Nils Lundkvist and Kaapo Kakko. K’Andre Miller, Alexis Lafreniere and Braden Schneider are the non-European first round picks.), but only two of their nine picks last year were from Europe as opposed to 4 of 8 of in 2019, 6 of 10 in 2018 and 5 of 7 in 2017. It’s too early to tell with some of those later round picks, but maybe Drury wants to take the Rangers scouting and drafting to a more North American place. They whiffed terribly on Lias Andersson, though Andersson himself played a part in that. Filip Chytil has been a regular NHLer the past three seasons and the jury is still out on what kind of player he will ultimately be. Vitali Kravtsov took a big step in the right direction this year and didn’t look out of place in the NHL and Nils Lundkvist is considered one of the best players outside the NHL. Kaapo Kakko was a consensus top-2 pick in 2019 and he took a big step this year toward being the player everyone thinks he can be. Like any team they have had hits and misses with all their draft picks, but someone else will be called upon when it comes to drafting European players.