Chris Drury is proud of the New York Rangers as big moves loom

May 15, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers celebrate as they leave the ice after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime in Game 7 of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers president and general manager Chris Drury addressed the media on Wednesday to close out the season.

“I couldn’t be more proud of what our players and coaches have accomplished this season,” Said via Rangers’ feed on social media. “We have a special group in that room. Obviously we are disappointed that we are not playing in the final now, but we want to build on this as an organisation.”

New York Rangers Chris Drury

Drury was appointed president and general manager last May following the surprise sackings of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton.

“I really believe in what we’ve accomplished since then the messageDrury said after his promotion. “We have a lot of good pieces and it is an exciting time for the organisation. When the season is over we will take a look at everything and see if we can take the next step and make ourselves the playoff team.”

It started with David Quinn replacing Gerard Gallant behind the bench, which was probably his best move. The rookie GM has received some criticism for trading Pavel Bukhnevich with St. Louis Blues in a cap-saving deal, but it appears to be the right decision in hindsight.

The trade and signing with Barkley Goudreau was his best off-season move. Bringing in Ryan Reaves also helped set the tone for the Rangers physically more prepared to take the next step.

One move that needs to be talked about more is the extension he gave Igor Shesterkin in the off-season. When a 4-year, $5.6 million deal was announced, it seemed a bit high for the goalkeeper as he played just 47 games under his belt.

After a season worthy of Vezina’s record 36-13-4, leading the NHL in GAA (2.07) and SV% (.935), Shesterkin’s contract may be the best of all 32 teams.

The icing on Drury’s cake came into the NHL trade deadline in March with the acquisition of Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano, Tyler Motte and Justin Braun. It wasn’t necessarily getting those players but the fact that he was able to do so without giving up any of his top prospects like Nils Lundqvist or Vitaly Kravtsov.

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The road ahead

Chris Drury
March 17, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Chris Drury, assistant general manager for the New York Rangers, works off the bench during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. Due to NHL COVID-10 protocol, Rangers coaching staff were not available for tonight’s game. Mandatory credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Drury will cut his work off this off season. He has about $13.5 million in cover space to try to re-sign RFA Kaapo Kakko and either UFA Andrew Copp or Ryan Strome.

He is also likely to look to free up additional space by either trading or buying Patrik Nemeth, who for two years has left $2.5 million USD. This must be done in order to correctly fill out the list.

Regardless, Rangers will lead their star lead as the juniors continue to grow.

“The leadership group has done an amazing job this year,” he said. “It’s not just the A players in their jackets. You can’t have 52 wins and reach the conference finals without great leadership.

“We’ve had a great deal of experience that this was for the kids, but Artemi, Mika, Kreids, and the other players who were in the qualifiers haven’t been through the qualifiers for several years. They have taken great strides in knowing and seeing what it takes to go deeper into the qualifiers.”

This season, Chris Drury’s job is to keep the heart of the previous playoff round together and then accentuate the lineup with powerful, low moves.

It began with the extension of Kravtsov. If he is not traded this season, the talented winger could be a huge contributor to the third streak.

No longer a junior coach, Chris Drury has done an excellent job this season. One that should give him consideration as general manager of the year.

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