There isn’t a more revered former Ranger than John Davidson. From carrying the ’78-79 Rangers to an unbelievable upset of the Islanders to a Stanley Cup Final, to his remarkable work in the broadcast booth alongside close friend Sam Rosen, the man affectionately known as JD by fans has been a part of the organization for five decades.
Even after he bid farewell following the ’05-06 season to pursue a job in hockey operations first with the Blues and then with the Blue Jackets, his heart never left NYC. It’s hard to believe that he only lasted two seasons as Rangers’ Team President. It was just yesterday that Davidson returned after leaving Columbus to take over for Glen Sather in the front office. His enthusiasm and professionalism for the job of continuing to rebuild the team alongside Jeff Gorton never wavered.
Don’t lose sight of Davidson’s ties to the Blue Jackets where Artemi Panarin starred. Maybe he would’ve still signed with the Rangers anyway. However, it’s believable that having JD around helped the Rangers recruit Panarin, who signed on the dotted line for seven years at an average cap hit of $11.64 million. That’s been a home run so far with Panarin totalling 153 points (49-104-153) in 111 games. The best free agent signing in franchise history.
Even though it ended bitterly for Davidson and Gorton, they sure did a lot right. The team has a bright future. Something Davidson noted in a classy statement he released on Friday.
Whatever he decides to do, here’s hoping he gets one more chance at running an NHL team. This is a very bright and articulate man who can add so much knowledge in helping build a team. The job he did with St. Louis paved the way for their first ever Stanley Cup. He did well in Columbus too despite limited resources and players leaving.
Wishing Davidson the best of luck. Thank you JD!