New York Rangers changes reignites Jack Eichel talk and Mike Babcock lobbying to be next head coach

The New York Rangers appear to be back to heading to their old ways. Rebuild over folks! It’s time to go shopping and go get some big toys on Broadway again.

New York Rangers and Jack Eichel

This is the one trade rumor in the NHL that will not die down or go away. Jack Eichel and the Rangers almost feels like preordained destiny. Even Johnny Gaudreau and the Flyers settled down after awhile.

If you try to surmise everything that Jame Dolan said in the wake of the dismissals of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton, his patience has run out and he wants a winner now. When the news broke, I had a feeling one of the reasons why a change was made had to do with the failure to land Jack Eichel before the season.

jack eichel trade
Mar 2, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) stretches in warm-ups prior to a game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett-POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Remember, Elliotte Friedman noted that the Rangers had a “reasonable offer” that obviously wasn’t good enough. That was probably a major factor in Dolan’s decisioning. Now those Jack Eichel talks are back with Friedman noting that the plan even before the change was to make another pitch. With Chris Drury at the helm, it sounds like it will be more aggressive.

“They were in on Eichel before this,” Friedman began. “It’s not like they were afraid to go after Eichel, they made the Sabres an offer on Eichel in the offseason. It’s one that at least made the Sabres think before deciding they weren’t ready to make the move yet. I don’t think Chris Drury will be any more or less inclined to make a move for Eichel as the organization is already prepared to do that.”

Mike Babcock lobbying for Rangers head coach

Mike Babcock Rangers
Mike Babcock coaching future? (NHLI)

Let’s first note that David Quinn has not been relieved of his duties yet, but almost unanimously around the rumor mill he’s expected to go. On a recent episode of Real Kyper at Noon, Nick Kypreos said he heard whispers that Mike Babcock may be a name considered for the next Rangers head coach. It sounds like Babcock really wants to get back in the NHL and could be lobbying hard to get his name under consideration.

Kypreos’ cohost Doug Maclean heard a name I did as well. John Tortorella’s contract will expire after the Blue Jackets next game and James Dolan absolutely loves him. Matter of fact, Dolan responded to a question about Torts just months after his firing in NY that almost sounded like a love letter.

I miss John Tortorella. I’d visit Torts before a game and we would trade barbs for 10 minutes, he’d tell me about his [lousy] cable TV service and I’d be sitting there saying, “You can’t clear the puck out of your zone, what the hell’s wrong with you?” and he’d strike back and then play the game and I miss that. I’m developing a relationship with Alain [Vigneault] and he’s also a good guy, but Torts and I had a special relationship. It was fun for me. He banned me from the locker room for a while, all in fun. I miss that.

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