The New York Rangers won’t reveal who they will select with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft even though Rimouski forward Alexis Lafreniere is the consensus choice to be the first player chosen.
“On the first pick, tune in at 7 o’clock Tuesday and we’ll tell you exactly what we’re going to do,” Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said Friday.
The first round of the 2020 NHL Draft will be Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 are Wednesday (11:30 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN1). The draft will be held virtually.
[RELATED: Complete 2020 NHL Draft coverage]
New York won the No. 1 pick in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery on Aug. 10. The First Phase of the lottery, held June 26, included the seven teams that were not part of the NHL Return to Play Plan and eight placeholder teams.
The Rangers will have the No. 1 pick for the second time in their history; they selected forward Andre Veilleux with the top selection in the 1965 NHL Draft.
Gorton said New York has received interest from other teams regarding a potential trade of the top pick.
“I’ve taken calls on it, that’s the job,” Gorton said. “We’ll listen to anything, but we’re comfortable picking first overall. … We look forward to Tuesday. I’ll always take the calls, but I would say our eye is on taking the pick right now.”
The Rangers are “really impressed” with Lafreniere, Gorton said.
The left wing (6-foot-1, 193 pounds) is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters. He led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games and was named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year.
“We’ve had a few [Zoom video chats] with him, obviously we’ve done our homework on him, we’ve talked to a lot of people around him,” Gorton said. “He’s a really humble kid that gives credit to everybody around him. He’s a good family kid. He works really hard. He’s really focused.
“Obviously he’s in a different situation where he’s been considered a high pick for a very long time that’s now extended into a few more months, so it’s a little bit of a crazy process for him. Like a lot of the kids in the top part of this draft, they’re all great kids, really focused on what they’re trying to do and we’ve been nothing but impressed.”
Gorton, though, said it’s too early to say where Lafreniere would fit with the Rangers if they select him, especially because they have Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider as their top two left wings.
Panarin was a finalist for the Hart Trophy this season as the most valuable player in the NHL, when he led the Rangers and was tied for third in the League with 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists). Kreider was third on the Rangers with 24 goals.
Panarin is signed for six more seasons. Kreider, who could have become an unrestricted free agent Oct. 9, signed a seven-year contract on Feb. 24.
“What we learn with young players is they’re all different and in some cases they’re more ready for that kind of role than others,” Gorton said. “But you have to be very careful about penciling them into certain spots, your top six and whatnot. I think training camp, when it comes, will go a long way to tell us where our young players are and whether they’re ready for certain roles.”
Gorton said the same will be true for right wing Kaapo Kakko, who was the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and scored 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in 66 games as a rookie this season.
“When he comes back, is he going to be ready for that [top-six] role?” Gorton said. “That’ll be up to him on the ice, the coaching staff, how they feel about him, how far he’s come. You’re always hoping and wishful that these guys are ready for certain things. But ultimately on the ice we’ll let those guys dictate where it spits out.”
Gorton said New York also is focused on the trade and free-agent market and could look to add a defenseman, especially after trading defenseman Marc Staal to the Detroit Red Wings on Sept. 26.
The Rangers have four NHL defensemen signed for next season: Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren and Brendan Smith.
Defenseman Tony DeAngelo can become a restricted free agent Oct. 9, along with forwards Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux and Phillip Di Giuseppe, and goalie Alexandar Georgiev.
New York also has defenseman prospects Libor Hajek, K’Andre Miller, Yegor Rykov, Matthew Robertson and Tarmo Reunanen, each of whom could make a push to be on the NHL roster.
“I think it would be nice to add a guy that has been around to add to our youth a little bit, to give them some experience,” Gorton said. “We’ll see what players are available that fit that M.O. We’re definitely going to look at the defense.”
The Rangers have not re-signed forward Jesper Fast, who can become an unrestricted free agent.
“We’ll continue to try to see if there is something there to keep him here,” Gorton said. “Certainly possible he does hit the open market.”
JONES: Edmonton Oilers dressing room icon Joey Moss dies – Edmonton Sun
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Gretzky’s call has been difficult the last two years with Alzheimer’s and the complications involving Down syndrome at this stage of Moss’ life and especially this year with his hip surgery and the isolations involving the hospital and the facility relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19, however, was not a factor in his death.
“Janet & I are saddened to learn about the passing of Joey Moss. Not only was Joey a fixture in the Edmonton dressing room, he was someone I truly considered a friend. We will miss you Joey and you will always live on through our memories. Our thoughts are with Joey’s loved ones,” Gretzky said in a statement.
“On behalf of all the players who had the honour to get to know him, we are so saddened to hear the news of Joey’s passing. We were all lucky enough to be part of his life for a lot of years. His love for life always brought a smile to anyone who met him. Whether it was a coffee before practice or a big hug after a great win or a tough loss, he would put life in perspective. He will be missed but not forgotten, Once an Oiler always an Oiler. RIP Joe.”
There was almost certainly never a member of a sports franchise custodial staff so loved by a community or as famous as Joey Moss.
There are a lot of much less famous members of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame than Moss, who was inducted in 2015.
Stafford, whenever asked about Joey Moss, always made the point:
“He’s not a locker room attendant to anyone who knows him and works with him. He’s part of the team. In a lot of ways he’s the face of the Oilers.”
Longtime Oilers locker room attendant Joey Moss dies at 57 – Sportsnet.ca
EDMONTON — Joey Moss, a longtime Edmonton Oilers locker room attendant, died Monday at the age of 57.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 27, 2020
Moss was born in 1963 with Down Syndrome, the 12th of 13 children to Lloyd and Sophie Moss.
He became the Oilers’ locker-room attendant in 1984 when superstar Wayne Gretzky was dating his older sister, Vikki. Moss joined the Edmonton Football Team in 1986 and held roles with both organizations for over 30 years.
Heartbreaking to hear about Joey Moss passing away. He is the soul of the @EdmontonOilers. I’ll remember him singing the anthem w/pride, getting fired up about wrestling and always asking if I combed my hair with a pork chop. My deepest condolences to the Moss family. pic.twitter.com/Ssa0ZBcoSn
— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) October 27, 2020
He worked with the CFL club from the opening of training camp in June until mid-August, at which time he headed over to the Oilers locker-room for the NHL season _ capturing the hearts of Edmonton sports fans along the way, particularly with his enthusiastic participation in the national anthem before the start of every hockey game.
Moss helped the training staff with such tasks as filling water bottles and equipment duties, but became more than an attendant over the years by providing inspiration to everyone in the locker-room.
Moss was awarded the NHL Alumni Association’s “Seventh Man Award” in 2003, for those “whose behind-the-scenes efforts make a difference in the lives of others.”
A little numb and horribly saddened by the news… but #yeg legend Joey Moss has passed away at the age of 57. Not even sure where to start… but condolences to the entire Moss, Eskimo & Oiler Families. He left a wonderful legacy & will be deeply missed by so many. #RIPJoeyMoss pic.twitter.com/GvyeqTFjiB
— Bryn Griffiths (@BrynMightyMouth) October 26, 2020
In October 2008, Moss was honoured with a mural in Edmonton for his service with both clubs. In 2012, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal honouring significant contributions and achievements by Canadians, and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Moss also inspired the Joey Moss Cup, a tournament held at the end of Oilers’ training camp.
Edmonton sports legend Joey Moss dies at 57 – Global News
Edmonton sports legend Joey Moss has died at the age of 57, Global News has learned.
Moss has been a beloved member of the Edmonton Oilers for decades. He became the NHL team’s locker room attendant in 1984, after he was recommended by The Great One himself — Wayne Gretzky. The two met when Gretzky was just 20 years old. He was dating Moss’ sister at the time.
In a statement, the Moss family said Joey passed away peacefully Monday with his family by his side.
The Oilers sent out a message on Twitter Monday night, saying the entire organization was mourning the loss of “dear friend and colleague, the legendary Joey Moss.”
Moss, who was born with Down syndrome, joined the Edmonton Football Team two years later.
The Winnifred Stewart Association, which Moss and his family were involved with for many years, shared a statement from his family.
“It is with deep sadness that the family announces the passing of Joey Moss. Joey passed away peacefully on Oct. 26 at the age of 57 with his family by his side.
“Joey was a remarkable person who taught us to love, laugh and enjoy life always.
“While Joey is most recognized as the dressing room attendant for the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Football Team, and singing the national anthem; Joey is also remembered for his incredible dance moves and putting a smile on your face when you are feeling down.
“Joey’s 35 years tenure with the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Football Team shows his dedication and loyalty to the jobs that he loved. His strong work ethic and contributions were rewarded, as he was presented with an NHL All-Star Award, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award, and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, just to name a few.
“We would like to thank the city of Edmonton and everyone who supported and embraced Joey.
“We hope that Joey’s legacy will continue on through the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Football Team and all professional sports clubs and workplaces, as we continue to recognize the contributions that people with developmental disabilities make in our society, as integral members of the workforce.”
The Winnifred Stewart Association and Foundation said Moss touched the hearts of a lot of people.
“Joey was an inspiration to many and was an ambassador for people with developmental disabilities. This loss will be felt far and wide, and we are so grateful for the time we had with him.
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to Joey’s family, his friends and all of Edmonton during this difficult time.”
Edmonton sports legend Joey Moss dies at 57
In a post on its website, the Edmonton Football Team organization paid tribute to Moss and said it was deeply saddened to learn of his passing.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Moss family,” the football club said.
“Edmonton lost a hero today. Joey’s bravery, humor, strength, work ethic and perseverance in our dressing room and in our community left indelible impressions that will live with us all.
“More than that, Joey endeared himself to everyone in our province, our country and beyond, no matter who they were. He was a symbol of what true teamwork is comprised of and we are all better for having known him. He touched us all.”
Over the years, he’s captured the hearts of those in Edmonton and beyond, particularly for his enthusiastic participation in the national anthem before the start of every game.
Moss racked up many accolades in Edmonton over the years.
In 2003, he was presented the NHL Alumni Association’s “Seventh Man Award,” which goes to NHL members “whose behind-the-scene efforts make a difference in the lives of others.”
In 2007, he accepted the Mayor’s Award from then-mayor Stephen Mandel in recognition of the Oilers commitment to persons with disabilities.
In, 2015, he was inducted to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame to honour his contributions and dedication made to both the Oilers and Edmonton’s CFL club. In 2012, he was recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Moss is also the namesake behind “Joey’s Home”, an assisted-living home for people with developmental disabilities overseen by the Winnifred Stewart Association.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
JONES: Edmonton Oilers dressing room icon Joey Moss dies – Edmonton Sun
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