The New York Rangers have officially introduced John Davidson as the 11th president in team history. He succeeds Glen Sather, who spent most of his tenure with the Rangers as general manager and president. Sather joined the Rangers in 2000, and remains with them in an advisory role.
Davidson played for the Rangers from the late 1970s into the mid-1980s, leading them to a Stanley Cup Final appearance. Following his retirement, he spent years as the Rangers’ color commentator on MSG Network alongside current play-by-play broadcaster Sam Rosen.
Davidson led the St. Louis Blues organization back to relevance starting in 2006. He then went to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012, helping build them into the team they are today.
He stressed two very important concepts at the press conference this morning when speaking about the Rangers rebuild. He stated that you must have “patience and resolve” for it to be successful.
He went on to further explain that players need development, and that the Rangers already have a young core. Now, the job is to put pieces together and wait for it to mesh.
Davidson stressed staying on track with a rebuild plan once it is enacted. Therefore, it is likely that the Rangers will continue to conduct this rebuild the same way they’ve been doing for a bit now.
Davidson spoke about his experiences in both St. Louis and Columbus. He explained that the task with the Blues was more difficult given his inexperience in the front office and because the team itself was in poor shape.
His task in Columbus, however, was not as difficult. Davidson described how a lot of the pieces were already there, and that the team was therefore in much better shape when he arrived. He led the Blue Jackets to the longest period of sustained success in franchise history.
On a more personal note, Davidson spoke about how New York became a second home for him, and that he became a true New Yorker despite being Canadian-born. He also said that the Rangers were the only organization he would’ve left Columbus for.
An interesting question was asked regarding how to balance a fast rebuild with efficiency. Davidson stayed on message, saying that the core is already there, they just need to be sure to remain patient and let the rebuild run its course.
He made a unique point referencing how the NHL is generally getting a lot younger, allowing players to permanently enter the league sooner. Reading between the lines, this could be Davidson alluding to his confidence in the Rangers young players, such as Vitali Kravtsov, Filip Chytil, and whoever the Rangers draft second overall next month.
Davidson Taking the Wheel
The biggest takeaway from the press conference is that Davidson is going to be given unlimited resources to help him guide this team to success alongside Gorton. Rangers owner James Dolan told Davidson that whatever he needs he could have. Davidson emphasized how important it is to have that freedom.
The press conference should give Rangers fans more confidence moving forward. It is very clear that the team owner, president, and general manager are all on the same page regarding the current state of this rebuild.
As Davidson stated, staying on track with a set plan is important, and it looks as though the Rangers management is in tune with that ideal.
Davidson has built himself into one of the most respected executives in the league, and this is just another opportunity for him to prove that. His goal is to build the team into a perennial Stanley Cup contender, and he knows what a team like that needs to look like.
The press conference ended with a photo op, with Davidson and his family posing in front of the Rangers logo. One of the most beloved former Rangers is home, and he’s ready to get to work.