Who is Jeff Gorton, new VP? Canadian hockey operations? | You did see?
Jeff Gorton is a 53 year old American born in Massachusetts. He has a degree in physical education from Bridgewater State University and a master’s degree in sports management from Springfield College.
He was only 26 when he made his NHL debut as director of scouting for the Boston Bruins in the 1994-95 season.
He will hold this position for five years. He sniffed out the talents of PJ Axelsson, Kyle McLaren and Sergei Samsonov, among others, in addition to getting his hands on Joe Thornton, the very first choice in 1997, before becoming assistant general manager.
Its radar continues to run at full speed and it then detects players like Nick Boynton, Patrice Bergeron, Mark Stuart, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Phil Kessel, the last three in 2006.
It was also that year that he became interim general manager of the Bruins following the dismissal of Mike O’Connell.
Obviously a very good salesman, he then convinced the Toronto Maple Leafs to give him the young hopeful goaltender Tuukka Rask in exchange for Andrew Raycroft, before getting his hands on Zdeno Chara as a free agent.
Although he was no longer with the Bruins when they lifted the Stanley Cup in 2011, the team presented him with a ring in recognition of his work in building this championship edition.
Off to Broadway
Meanwhile, Jeff Gorton is shown the door of the TD Garden at the end of the 2006-2007 season after 14 seasons in the organization chart of the Bruins.
The following fall, he agrees to start from scratch as a simple scout for the New York Rangers. Again, he quickly rose through the ranks, rising to director of player personnel (2008), assistant general manager (2011), before succeeding Glen Sather in the general manager’s seat, in July 2015.
The chair becomes ejectable at the conclusion of the 2021 season when the Rangers miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.
He will still have had time to leave his mark by going there from the trade that led Mika Zibanejad from the Ottawa Senators to the Rangers. The Swedish striker was added to a promising nucleus including Russian Artemi Panarin, Finland’s Kaapo Kakko and the very first pick in the 2020 draft, Alexis Lafrenière.
Jeff Gorton finds himself in 2021 at the heart of the affair which sees the senior leaders of the team send a bitter letter to the National League for its management deemed inadequate of the aggressions committed, in May, by Tom Wilson, of the Washington Capitals, to Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich.
Wilson had only been fined $5,000. Rangers demanded the dismissal of George Parros, then director of the player safety department.
Just 24 hours later, Gorton and chairman John Davidson were let go by the Rangers.
Since then, Gorton worked as an analyst for games broadcast on the NHL Network.
He continues to be seen as an excellent talent evaluator who doesn’t hesitate to do the right thing if he feels it will improve the fortunes of the team.
As Canadian owner Geoff Molson suggested during his press briefing on Monday, Gorton should arrive in Montreal by Wednesday to tackle the file of recruiting the next general manager and the new director of recruiting.
And we now know that Gorton has a long-term contract in his pocket and that he will be settling in with his wife and their two sons in time for the next school year.