It has been over a month since Peter Chiarelli was fired as the Bruins general manager. Since then, Chiarelli has been hired by the Oilers and the Devils have also filled their general manager vacancy with potential Bruins candidate Ray Shero. The Bruins have still yet to hire a new man to run the front office behind team President Cam Neely despite several interviews. Rumors and reports have suggested that Don Sweeny, the current Bruins assistant general manager, is a likely candidate. But if that is the case, why has he not been named to the post yet?
There is one potential candidate that could be holding everything up: Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton. Gorton is no stranger to Boston, he was the assistant general manager under Mike O’Connell in Boston and was the interim head during the 2006 offseason before Chiarelli left Ottawa to take over.
As the assistant general manager, Gorton built a substantial part of the 2011 Bruins Stanley Cup Champion team, helping draft both David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron as well as signing Tim Thomas to both his initial deal and his extension. His 2006 offseason as interim general manager was one of the best of the last decade for the Bruins. His first three draft picks were Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand, a haul that any front office executive would be jealous of. He also helped sign Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard that offseason, although Chiarelli and Jeremy Jacobs also had strong influence on those two moves.
Currently in his post as the number two man behind Rangers top man Glen Sather, Gorton has helped build a Rangers team that is in the Eastern Conference Final for the second year in a row. The team advanced to the Stanley Cup last season as well. The Rangers have a strong core of defensemen and a plethora of speed up front, two things the 2015 Bruins were sorely lacking.
The trouble with Boston hiring Gorton is that because the Rangers are still in the playoffs, he is not available to even be interviewed yet and if they advance to the Cup Final he may not be available for another 4-5 weeks, a long time to wait for a team at a crossroads. It is not a sure thing that the Rangers will make Gorton available to interview even then, as Sather is 72 years old and may have Gorton in mind as his eventual replacement.
Gorton would be the best hire, in this writer’s humble opinion, but the Bruins cannot wait around too long to nab their man. If hired Gorton may want to change coaches, a process that gets more difficult as the offseason continues. He also would have little time to evaluate the roster before the draft in late June and free agency in July. Until the Bruins make a decision the Bruins will remain a front office in flux, which is not good for anyone.