Rangers extend contracts for GM Jeff Gorton, assistant GM Chris Drury

John Davidson, the new president of the New York Rangers, second from left, poses for a picture with adviser to the owner, Glen Sather, left, general manager Jeff Gorton, second from right, and coach David Quinn during a news conference in New York (Seth Wenig/AP)

Jeff Gorton has been busy retooling the New York Rangers the past few seasons, and now he’s being rewarded by the club for his efforts.

The Rangers’ general manager, along with assistant GM Chris Drury, has received a contract extension, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday’s Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada.

New York currently sits three points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. If they manage to make the playoffs, Gorton could be in the running for some hardware at the NHL awards.

“I think Gorton is going to be one of the candidates for the GM award this year with the job they’ve done getting back to the cusp of the playoffs,” Friedman said.

Since sending a letter to Rangers fans explaining that the team expects to take a step back in order to build a foundation for a Stanley Cup contender, there has been a lot of turnover with the roster.

The team has seen longtime players like Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello leave, while Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin have been added. Gorton was also able to re-sign Chris Kreider after many expected him to be moved at the NHL trade deadline.

Gorton will have some tough decisions to make this off-season, figuring out the team’s goaltending situation going forward (there are three goalies on the active roster) and deciding what to do with pending restricted free agents Strome and Tony DeAngelo.

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