But not to the point of adopting a Playoffs or Bust mentality on Monday’s trade deadline. Not to the point of sacrificing a potential part of the future in exchange for an immediate solution. Not to the point of deviating from the plan adopted by the organization three years ago.
There has been enough short-term pain through three straight playoff misfires – likely to become four – not to put the plan in the grinder in the hope of a short-term win.
“I see most of the trades were in the rental market and the emphasis wasn’t really on renting,” said general manager Jeff Gorton, whose team is playing its first of four straight games. against the Devils on Tuesday night in New Jersey. “I was really not interested in renting players.
“I feel like if you look at our squad right now there’s a lot of good stuff going on, a lot of people have extra ice time and are doing well. I didn’t want to call in players to pull it off.
“Our goal has always been to try to improve ourselves. We try to play as many meaningful games as possible, take it one day at a time and drop the chips where they can, ”said the GM. “We’re in a very difficult division and we’ve held on pretty well.
“We have 15 games to go, we have a big week ahead so we are going to focus on that, but I’m happy that our games are meaningful, our guys are developing, you have seen these youngsters improve and I feel like our team play like [well] as we have maybe all year round.
The disappointing efforts largely overshadowed the more encouraging ones, but the fact is the Rangers have gone 9-4-3 in 16 games dating back to March 13 for a 0.656 winning percentage equaling seventh in the NHL. over this period. They’re four points behind Boston, with Taylor Hall’s augmented B’s (we’ll see on that) holding a pair of games in hand for the final playoff invite.
The Rangers were good, but not perfect, taking three points in two weekend games against the Islanders, who are tied for the top in the East with the Caps. The Blueshirts are 6-4-1 cumulative against the leaders of the co-division.
“From the two games against the Islanders, I’m really happy with the way things are going,” said Gorton. “Like I said, young kids you see the progress they are making and the opportunities they have and it’s hard not to feel good about the future of Rangers and the direction that we have. take.
“Overall, I really believe our team is moving in the right direction and there is a lot to be excited about.”
Gorton said there has been no recent action regarding Tony DeAngelo, which the Rangers will exhibit in Seattle in the expansion plan and then buy back (priced at $ 383,333 of dead space next season and $ 883,333 dead space in 2022-23) if the Kraken doesn’t bite. There apparently wasn’t a lot of action involving Brendan Smith, who the Rangers didn’t particularly want to move, anyway.
So they’ll go the rest of the way pretty much with the team that brought them here, except with extras from college or downstairs. Zac Jones, the 20-year-old second-year defenseman for national champion UMass, is set to drop out of school to sign a contract with the Blueshirts and is expected to play at some point. Morgan Barron, the 22-year-old center who spent his first professional season with the Wolf Pack, is also expected to play in the NHL.
Gorton deferred his comments on Jones, a third round of 2019 at No. 68, until he signed. But regarding Barron, the GM said: “I think Morgan played extremely well and we hope to give him an opportunity or anyone who deserves it.
“We’re going to keep him there for now, see how he’s doing, but he’s definitely opened our eyes with what he’s done, so we’re looking at that.”
The Rangers have yet to get there from here. But they’re not looking for any Rosie Ruiz shortcuts to the finish line. The March 2018 letter was not signed with fading ink.
“We’re going in the right direction,” Gorton said. “There is a lot to be thankful for and to be excited about moving forward.”