Tuesday morning, the New York Rangers announced several changes within their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate- the Hartford Wolf Pack. These changes included the promotion of Chris Drury from assistant general manager of the Rangers to general manager of the Wolf Pack. The team also relieved Hartford head coach Ken Gernander of his duties. Also, Jim Schoenfeld, the Rangers senior vice president and assistant general manager has relinquished his duties as GM of Hartford.
OFFICIAL: Ken Gernander has been relieved of Head Coaching duties with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
New York Rangers Announce AHL Shakeup; Name Chris Drury GM
“We want to thank Ken for his service and all of his contributions to the Wolf Pack and the Rangers organization,” Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton told NHL.com. “We wish him and his family all the best in his future endeavors.”
“I want to thank Ken for his tireless work and dedication to the Wolf Pack and the Rangers organization,” Schoenfeld also told NHL.com. “He represented the organization the right way, both on and off the ice. I have had the good fortune working closely with Kenny as a player, assistant coach, and head coach over the last 12 years and wish him all the best going forward.”
Changes Were Needed
These changes have been awaited for by fans of both the Wolf Pack and Rangers. The Wolf Pack have not had much success over the past several years. In the 2013-14 season, the team went 37-32-1, and failed to make the post-season. In 2014-15, the team went 43-24-5, and was eliminated in the third round of playoff contention. The 2015-16 season resulted in the club once again failing to make the playoffs with a record of 41-32-3. And this season, the club’s worst, had a record of 24-46-4, with a second straight playoff no-show.
OFFICIAL: #NYR Assistant General Manager Chris Drury named General Manager of the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Chris Drury’s Mission Going Forward
With Chris Drury now taking over as general manager, there is a sign of hope and a breath of fresh air. Drury was a member and captain of the Rangers from 2007-11. Drury served as the Rangers director of player development from 2015-16, before being promoted to assistant general manager in 2016. Now he takes on a larger role, overseeing the Rangers’ farm team.
The Rangers are an ageing team. Their current roster holds thirteen players aged 27 or older. This past season, some of that age started to show. The NHL today is dominated by younger, fast players, with of course the occasional older veterans. New York also just exited the postseason, falling to the Ottawa Senators in six games; a series which told fans, changes are needed. With Drury now in control of Hartford, his main task will be to produce elite level, fast paced players whom can be called up to the NHL and compete with all teams.
It has been done before, players that came out of Hartford and into the Rangers lineup in the past include J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, and Brady Skjei– all of which have had big roles on the team since being called up. The situation now is now different, the Wolf Pack need to continue to develop their players and soon; because the Rangers need to get back on track. These announcements on Tuesday are the beginning of a very busy off-season in New York.