Rangers Fire Davidson and Gorton

by | May 5, 2021 | News, NHL | 16 comments

The New York Rangers fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton. Chris Drury has taken over for Davidson and Gorton but it’s uncertain if that’s on an interim basis.

Former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton (left) and former team president John Davidson (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gorton had been general manager since July 2015 while Davidson became president in May 2019. Under those two, the Rangers had engaged in a rebuilding program, bringing in younger players.

Reports indicate this move is unrelated to the Rangers issuing a statement yesterday regarding the incident involving Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson on Monday. Davidson and Gorton apparently sought to distance themselves from that statement.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks cited sources saying a difference of opinion had emerged between those two and Rangers CEO James Dolan. Davidson and Gorton were taking a patient, long-term view while Dolan apparently wants the club to take the next step in the process. It’s also reported Dolan was unhappy with the Rangers’ performance this season, particularly after their two recent back-to-back shutout losses to the rival Islanders.

That “next step in the process” could mean Drury goes shopping in this summer’s trade and/or free-agent market. Perhaps veterans with a year remaining on their contracts, such as Mika Zibanejad or Ryan Strome, get peddled in the offseason. Maybe Drury attempts a blockbuster move by offering up some promising prospects and/or young players for a young impact star.

It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for current Rangers coach David Quinn. While he kept his job there’s no certainty he’ll be back next season. Drury could prefer to bring in a more experienced NHL bench boss or could be directed by Dolan to do so.


  1. Dolan is a fool. I’m a Rangers fan and I felt maybe they should have been a little better this season the bigger step for me would be next season. Dolan let Slats stay in charge too long. Now he fires two guys doing a good job too quickly. Drury seems to be a capable guy. I just fear some type of big trade is coming that will give up too much young talent. There is also talk he wants Mark Messier as President. Not what to think about that one.

  2. Yes this related to the statement made by rangers. I agree with what they put out. Live by the sword, die by the sword I’ve been poleaxed from jobs for speaking my mind before I can identify with Davidson and Groton they stood up for what they believe in.

    • Rick, above it mentions that Gorton and Davidson were trying to distance themselves from the statement, not that the two of them were involved in making it.
      If that is true, then Dolan made the statement.

      • I read a story that the statement was issued from Dolan’s office.

  3. I’m not a Gorton fan, not sure why he sometimes get the praise he does. But this is an odd move.

    Now that the knicks have turned the corner does Dolan plan on destroying the Rangers?

    Can’t say I have the Drury choice for now. Messier? Seriously?

    Bizarre move to say the least. This was the youngest team in the Nhl prior to NJ trading away vets at the deadline. They are well on track with this rebuild. I’m not sure how you could expect more and it of this team right now. But if Dolan wasn’t on board with the process, why wasn’t that known until now?


    • Yep strange Captain.
      As a B’s fan I have appreciation for the work Gorton did as an Assistant GM, and then as the interim.
      The the 3.5 months he was interim B’s GM he drafted Kessel, Lucic and Marchand. Traded Raycroft for Rask. Signed Chara as a UFA.

      Nice work IMO.

      In NY he was clear about the plan, explained it to fans and seemed to be executing. Some lucky lottery bounces helps, but they seem to be on the verge of success. He did the heavy lifting.

      • He did some good things in NY, the Fox trade, The Strome trade. Zibanejad trade.

        Then there was the Girardi buyout / Shattenkirk signing / Shattenkirk buyout. The Smith signing. Not having a better grip on the Deangelo situation prior to re-signing. Lias Andersson, trading Graves.

        Mcdonagh / Miller , the jury is out. But Lundkvist better be a very solid guy for years to come. Hajek is okay. Not sure they actually can win that trade.

        Panarin good deal. But expensive.

        Trouba, not sure I would have paid a 1st + Pionk.

        Got decent returns when he purged the team. Nash, Zuccarello and so on.

        Not trading a winger away at the deadline seemed odd. Buchnevich probably should have been moved.

        Mixed review.

  4. Buffalo should jump on both Davidson and Gorton, let Kim Pegula stick to the Bills.

    These two would revive the Sabres.

    • Thinking the same thing habsfan30. They are the team that would make the most sense. Question is would they/he go there?
      Davidson can do TV again, or retire.
      Only so many GM jobs in the NHL, but I think Gorton gets another gig that might be a better fit if he decides to wait.

      • To be honest with you Ray, Davidson did a great job in St Louis and Columbus getting them on the right track and was doing the same with the Rangers, but I would prefer he goes back to TV because the hockey world needs a great color guy again as the current national talent is lacking in the US.

    • Absolutely agree! Good call Habsfan!

  5. This is a terrible move. Terrible timing, lots of important roster decisions coming up with free agency, expansion draft, entry draft, etc.

    I don’t want Messier and his antiquated style of thinking anywhere near this team, thanks for 94 Mess but we don’t need you coming in here and destroying everything that was built.

    Drury I have no opinion of other than he hasn’t had enough experience IMO to see this through and could easily fold to pressure from Dolan.

    This entire situation could have been avoided if the NHL handled this situation properly, by suspending Wilson for at least the remainder of the regular season. Which in turn would of calm tensions heading into tonights game, which is otherwise meaningless.

  6. The Rangers were finally moving in the right direction to become what I believe would have been an NHL powerhouse for the next 5-6 years. I thought that Davidson and Gorton were doing an excellent job and that the addition of toughness and grit could easily have been accomplished over the summer with so many teams looking to shed salary. Those types of players are usually very easy to find and I believe, that especially this year, that many teams would be happy to exchange a solid tough veteran for a much cheaper prospect. I think Dolan watches this years Knicks and thinks that the same instant improvement into a highly competitive team can be done with the Rangers. However, IMHO, hockey is not basketball and you can’t just put together 3 great players and win a championship like you can in basketball. Hockey is a team game. I am afraid that this is a huge step backwards for the Rangers. I hope they don’t fire Quinn also. Even if they add a little toughness next year this will still be a very young team that need a coach like Quinn. We have seen so much improvement from quite a few players this year and with experience they will only get better.

    • You’re wrong about basketball, Dov, and the change in the Knicks is proof of that. They have a top coach now and the difference in their play at both ends of the court is obvious.
      I could see the Rangers bringing in one of the several coaches that are currently available right after the season ends. Wouldn’t surprise me if it’s Mike Babcock.

  7. Really dumb move. This is par for the course for Dolan – he is a buffoon. I suspect Quinn will be fired as well after the season.

  8. For over 20 years the Rangers have had tremendous stability in the front office: only 2 GM’S since 2000, Sather and Gorton. Now it feels like Dolan is about to take this franchise on a crazy bender.