Jeff Gorton will remain the team’s general manager but the search for Sather’s replacement is set to begin immediately and, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, some high-profile names are expected to be on that list.
Shannon reported Thursday night that Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman and John Davidson are among the possible replacements for Sather.
Messier spent 10 of his 25 NHL seasons playing with the Blueshirts and famously led them to a Stanley Cup championship in 1994. Despite being a recognized ambassador to the game, however, Messier has a dearth of NHL front office experience.
Yzerman, on the other hand, spent more than eight years as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning until stepping down this past September. Yzerman remains with the team working in a senior adviser role under current GM Julien BriseBois. Considering Yzerman is the architect behind the Lightning squad that has dominated the league this season, the former longtime Detroit Red Wings captain’s services would be in high demand for any notable vacant front office position.
Meanwhile, Davidson has been president of hockey operations with the Columbus Blue Jackets since 2012 after spending more than six years in the St. Louis Blues’ front office. Davidson, a former goaltender, played 222 of his 301 career NHL games with the Rangers and had a 20-year run as a broadcaster calling Rangers games starting in 1985.
It’s unclear at this time which other names might eventually end up on the list of contenders.
“I truly believe the team is headed in the right direction and think the future is bright,” Sather stated in a press release. “I look forward to transitioning to a different role and continuing to play a part in building the next Rangers Stanley Cup contender.”