New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

Day one of free agency has come and gone for the New York Rangers. It’s time to throw Jeff Gorton into the court of public opinion.

Your honor, today we will bring before this court of public opinion the case of Jeff Gorton Vs. The New York Rangers’ Faithful.

If fans were to have any hope going into next season, the right moves need to be made throughout the free agency period.

This doesn’t necessarily mean big moves, but the right ones.

With the Rangers’ tight cap situation buzzing around like an annoying mosquito, Gorton was given the difficult task of maneuvering around bad contracts while filling the many voids that plagued the team throughout last season.

New York Rangers Free Agency Open Thread

A sub-par bottom six and defensive woes were at the top of that list, and Gorton wasted no time addressing said issues once free agency kicked off yesterday afternoon.

But judge, the reason we are bringing this case before the court is to examine whether or not Gorton made moves that will benefit this Rangers’ team in the long run.

The Rangers made it crystal clear that they had no interest in resigning trade deadline acquisition, Eric Staal.

Staal only registered six points (3 goals/3 assists) in 20 regular season games with the Rangers, and tallied no points in five playoff games.

The Minnesota Wild treated Staal to a three year deal worth 10.5M.

So long Eric.

Gorton’s next non-move was a bit surprising, as Viktor Stalberg was picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes for one year at 1.5M.

Stalberg didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet (9 goals/ 11 assists) last season, but he did inject the lineup with energy and grit at times throughout the season when the rest of the roster had gone missing.

We’ll come back to Stalberg later on.

May it please the court, I’d like to present the court with four players who were signed by the Rangers’ organization yesterday.

Michael Grabner (RW): 2 years, 1.65M

Nathan Gerbe (C): 1 year, 600K

Adam Clendening(D): 2 years, 600K/300K

Michael Paliotta (D): 1 year (two-way deal), 600K/70K

When analyzing these deals, it’s important to remember that Dominic Moore is current on the open market. Nathan Gerbe is a possible replacement not only for Moore, but also Oscar Lindberg who will most likely miss time at the beginning of the season.

Gerbe only registered three goals and four assists in 47 games for Carolina last season, but does add some speed to an aging Rangers’ roster.

He’s not exactly a power-forward, though.

Gerbe is a player that will most likely be sent to Hartford at some point in the season, which makes the signing a low-risk move.

Both Adam Clendening and Michael Paliotta are depth signings for the defense. Paliotta will most likely spend a good portion of next season in Hartford and Clendening could take McIlrath’s spot from last season as the seventh defenseman.

Michael Grabner was by far the “biggest” signing of the day for the Rangers. The speedy forward will add some grit to the bottom six and also replacement the void left by Viktor Stalberg.

Listen, I understand that Grabner’s two-year contract gives the Rangers more maneuverability moving forward, but I would have loved to see Gorton keep Stalberg, especially for 1.5M.

Having said that, Gorton still has eight RFA’s to sign, so every dollar will count moving forward.

Before I leave the jury to deliberate the moves made by Gorton yesterday, keep in mind that this process will take a couple of years.

Rebuilding a team (or restructuring as the Rangers are calling it) takes time and patience. Remember back in the late 2000’s when the Rangers were consistently making it to the first round of the playoffs but were not Stanley Cup contenders?

That is exactly what I would expect from the New York Rangers next season, and that’s OK.

The alternative is a situation in which the Rangers are stuck in mediocrity year after year with no end in sight (aka, the dark ages).

So what say you, Blueshirt Faithful? Did Gorton make the smart moves yesterday?

NEXT: Eric Staal Takes A Jab At Blueshirt Organization


  1. As far as i’m concerned this is Ex-General Moron Glen Sather’s mess!!! The guy that most of the media and a lot of the fanbase annointed and said he was some kind of an “architect” of the 2013-2014 team for finally making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and made out to be some kind of “genius”, when in fact, those that can’t stand Glen Sather (most of the older fanbase and fans, myself included) damn well knew and know that it took him literally 14 years of doing absolutely nothing for 14 of those years, including the first 5 years doing literally nothing, but spending and throwing money around like a drunken sailor, and buying and overpaying all these old over the hill and players that were never gonna fit in, no matter what, from the day he got here in 2000-2005, all while developing no younger talent those years. It was basically like being blindfolded and throwing darts around hoping they would land somewhere good those years. As someone, who was actually at most of the games those terrible years (and am fortunate enough to still be going to most of the games these days) from 2000-2004 (there was a lockout in the 2004-2005 season) it was just a horrible time to be a New York Rangers fan those years. Any other organization would’ve fired Sather after the 2004 season, which he should’ve been then.

    As far as i’m concerned, a GM should get at least 5 years and/or 2 coaches that he hires, and while Sather hired and fired more guys than he should’ve been able to, Jeff Gorton has only been here a year for the most part, so no , i’m not judging him or the job he’s been doing yet. He gets a minimum 5 years from me and should after the job Sather did and the mess he left him with.

    It’s just amazing Sather was able to somehow get 15 years before he stepped down and people are already criticizing Jeff Gorton and some of even want him fired already (like how does that work?!), and before doing so, hired AV, who doesn’t work well with young talent (one of the things that got him fired in Vancouver, plus the fact the fans, like the Rangers fanbase now, want nothing to do with this guy and wanted to basically drive him into the river with pitchforks and flames when he was done there) and who is the only coach in the NHL who plays a man to man defensive system coverage. (and they wonder why since AV has gotten here the desfense has been bad) Hopefully that will change now by going back to a zone coverage with the hiring of Jeff Beaukeboom who should still be here and survive even after AV is fired. I predict that AV will be fired around January or February and if the team is really struggling, by December.

    Let’s see what Jeff Gorton could do with this mess, by actually giving him some time. If his job with the Boston Bruins is any indication, then I trust him to do the right thing and start building through the draft and start replinishing draft picks and making smart trades and good signings, although i’m not too estatic about the signings so far. But give him some time.

    So buckle up Rangers fans, it’s only gonna get worse from here, if the roster is any indication, this years Rangers team is not going to be all that good, and if by some chance they make it into the playoffs, they’ll be bounced in the first round again or 2nd round depending on the matchup, so they’ll just be average. I think it’s safe to say their window is closed since 2015. The goal is to win a Stanley Cup, as i’m sure many of you know. I’ll take one more before I punch my ticket out of here. But i’m not counting on it in the next few years unless something drastically changes like the roster or the coach. Because lets be honest 1 Cup in 76 years isn’t gonna cut it, and I know this organization doesn’t win too often, so yeah i’ll take one more as some point. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long to clean up this mess though. I’d love to be wrong though. Let’s Go Rangers!!!