The St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup Champions with some of the credit belonging to New York Rangers president John Davidson.
John Davidson must have had a slight smile on Wednesday night while he watched the St. Louis Blues skate around TD Garden with the Stanley Cup.
The New York Rangers president played no small part in the win. He was the president of the Blues organization when they drafted several of the players on the ice Wednesday night. It’s a perfect example of how long a proper rebuild can take and the patience that is needed to get the job completed.
Davidson was hired by St. Louis in June 2006. The year before, the Blues had just finished a season that saw them record just 57 points, the second-lowest in franchise history. Prior to the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the team had made the postseason 25 consecutive years.
Over the next six years in St. Louis, Davidson, along with the rest of the front office, drafted several players that were on the ice when the Blues captured their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Captain Alex Pietrangelo, was selected in the first round (No. 4 overall) in 2008 and backup goaltender Jake Allen was drafted the same year at No. 34 overall. The Blues became competitive yet still struggled to gain consistent success.
With more failure than success over the following two seasons, the Blues drafted two more future stars in the 2010 NHL Draft. At No. 14 the Blues selected Jaden Schwartz. Two selections later Vladimir Tarasenko became a member of the Blues.
In 2011, the Blues picked defenseman Joel Edmundson and in the next round of the same draft, they selected goaltender Jordan Binnington No. 88 overall. Binnington played his first game with St. Louis in a relief appearance for Allen.
Binnington went on to record a 24-win season and led the Blues to their first Stanley Cup Championship.
Davidson left the Blues in 2012, more because of new ownership and a power struggle. It wasn’t because of anything he did or didn’t accomplish. He went on to the Columbus Blue Jackets and now brings all that experience to New York.
What Has Been Learned vs. What to Expect
The most important factor of the Stanley Cup win by St. Louis is as obvious as it is hard to understand for Rangers fans. Patience is the biggest, most underrated piece of this rebuilding process.
The Blues started this process in 2006. Pietrangelo was selected in 2008, 11 years ago. Tarasenko was selected by the Blues nine years ago. Both players have had great careers, but the full cohesiveness began, in my opinion, with interim head coach Craig Berube.
The hot team with the hot goaltender usually is the one that can make the climb to 16 wins and a championship. Plenty of skill and some luck are needed to accomplish this goal, one every team begins with in September.
For JD and the Rangers, the team is still in the early stages of finding its way back to the playoffs. Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton are on the right path, but there is no quick fix to move things along. The time of win-now has come and gone.
The Blueshirts are doing things the right way, maybe a little too late for a player like Henrik Lundqvist, but they have a game plan to follow.
This could be the most important offseason for the club in the last 25 years. The decisions made now will dictate the direction of the club for the foreseeable future.
JD has started this plan before, but this time, that plan was already in motion before he arrived. The city of New York hopes he can bring the team across the finish line and celebrate the way his former club is today.