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A Brief History of the NHL's New York Rangers

Updated on February 10, 2012

The New York Rangers were the second National Hockey League team from the Big Apple to join the NHL. When the Rangers joined the NHL for the 1926-27 season, they were a year behind their roommates, the New York Americans. The Rangers outlasted the Americans, though. The Americans ceased operations temporarily during World War II and never restarted.

The New York Rangers history is dotted with four Stanley Cup victories. Three of the four came in the early stages of the team’s history. It was common for the Rangers to play those Stanley Cup games on the road as the Circus took over Madison Square Garden at that time of year. The fourth came in 1994 after a 54 year drought. In contrast, their cross town rivals, the New York Islanders, have won the same number of Stanley Cups but have been in the NHL since just 1972-73.

The Rangers have had just three 50 goal scorers throughout their history. Vic Hadfield, Adam Graves and Jaromir Jagr are the only three to hit the magic 50 goal plateau. Jagr holds the team record for most goals in a season with just 54.

The same low individual output appears in the single season points department. Only six New York Rangers players have ever surpassed 100 points in a season. The six players are: Jaromir Jagr, Jean Ratelle, Mark Messier, Vic Hadfield, Mike Rogers and Brian Leetch. Jagr holds the team record at 123 points set in 2005-06, nearly 100 points less than Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record.

Three players have played over 1000 games in a New York Rangers jersey. Harry Howell is the all-time leader with 1160 games, followed by Brian Leetch at 1129 and Rod Gilbert at 1065.

Rod Gilbert is the only New York Ranger to surpass 400 career goals with 406. He is also the only Rangers 1000 point man with 1021.

2011-12 could be the year the Rangers return to glory. New York has played a good portion of the season sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference. Unlike recent years, the Rangers have built a team of working class players. Typically, in the past, the team would go after high priced free agents and try to buy a winner. This year’s team is a little different. On the front line, the Rangers are led by captain Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. The blue line is bolstered by a group of youngsters like Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.

If the Rangers do march through to the Stanley Cup finals in 2012, hopefully the circus won’t be taking up the New York Rangers arena.


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    • Evankovach profile image

      Evankovach 6 years ago from Northern New Jersey

      I would certainly agree that in the playoff setting a player like Avery is necessary. As a Devils fan, I have seen first hand that Avery has the ability to knock some of the best players in the world off their game!

    • gts68 profile image

      Tom Samworth 6 years ago from Canada

      I hear you about the two being high-priced, but they're not in that prima-donna level like Bure, Lindros or Jagr. Gabby and Richards are still in their prime and seem to be making a difference.

      Unfortunately, I think they need Avery back! (just kidding - although Avery can play the game when he shuts his mouth...)

    • Evankovach profile image

      Evankovach 6 years ago from Northern New Jersey

      Nice write-up! I think it's way too early to even consider a run for the Stanley Cup at this point for the Rangers. This year's team is definitely a little bit different then teams in the past, but two of the three forwards you mentioned following that statement are high priced free agents! That said, the defense is young, but solid and the offense is a mix of veteran talent and young energy. I might be crazy to say this but it seems the Ranger's Achilles in the past few years has been Henrik Lundqvist in the playoffs being victimized by his slow glove. At this point in the season he is playing out of his mind.