The New York Rangers have fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
The team confirmed the departure of Davidson and Gorton on Wednesday, saying the pair “are leaving the organization,” and announced associate GM Chris Drury has been promoted to president and GM, effective immediately.
“We want to thank JD and Jeff for their contributions to the organization. They are both great hockey professionals who worked hard for the Rangers, however, in order for the team to succeed in the manner our fans deserve, there needs to be a change in leadership,” James Dolan, executive chairman of MSG Sports, said in a press release.
“Chris is a very sought-after executive and a strong leader, who has proven himself to be one of the top young minds in hockey. We are confident he will effectively guide the team to ensure the long-term success we promised Rangers fans.”
While it was not immediately clear if the dismissals were related to the statement the team released Tuesday, which strongly criticized the NHL for not suspending Capitals forward Tom Wilson for his role in a brawl that injured Rangers star Artemi Panarin during Monday’s game, Friedman reports he doesn’t “believe that’s the case” and that the shock dismissals were “more about the direction of the team.”
The Rangers were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for a fourth-consecutive season Monday but have taken strides since the team’s lowest point in 2017-18. With three games remaining on the season the Rangers have a .547 points percentage, slightly below last season’s mark, but the team’s 2.70 goals against per game rate is the lowest mark in this current playoff drought.
Gorton was promoted to the GM role in July 2015 after working for three years with the organization as an assistant general manager. His tenure with the Rangers was highlighted by the addition of Panarin in free agency and draft lottery wins to add forwards Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere with top-two draft picks in 2019 and 2020.
Davidson was named president of the Rangers in May 2019 after holding the same title with the Columbus Blue Jackets for seven years.
After wrapping up a 12-year playing career in 2011, Drury joined the Rangers front office in September 2015, first serving as the team’s director of player development, then as assistant general manager starting in September 2016 before being promoted associate GM this past February.