It didn’t take long for Steve Vickers to make a name for himself in the NHL.
As a rookie in 1972, after being taken 10th overall in the draft by the New York Rangers, Vickers was named as the Calder Memorial Trophy winner, being the best rookie in the league. He tallied 30 goals and 23 assists that season. That year was his first of 10 in New York, and it set the stage for one of the best all-around careers the Rangers have ever had.
Like many people idolized in the Big Apple, Vickers spent his entire career as a Ranger, scoring at least 30 goals four times and finishing with over 80 points twice.
In his early playing days, Vickers played on a forward line with Walt Tkaczuk and Bill Fairbairn, a line that was considered one of the most lethal in the entire league.
In the 1974-1975 season, two years removed from being named the rookie of the year, Vickers put up the best season of his career. Coming off back-to-back deep playoff runs, Vickers scored 41 goals and added 48 assists. His 89 points were the highest mark he would ever reach in his decade-long career and he helped the Rangers make the postseason for a third straight season.
A year later, Vickers put up another impressive campaign, totaling 83 points on 30 goals and 53 assists, although New York missed the playoffs that season.
Over the course of his career, Vickers did his part to help the Rangers to the playoffs in seven of 10 seasons. He never won a Stanley Cup in New York, but made himself known as one of the best two-way forwards in the history of the franchise. Vickers also ranks in the top-ten all-time goal scorers for the Rangers. His 246 goals placed him good enough in franchise history for eighth.
He’s also ninth all-time on the Rangers list for assists in a career. His 340 helpers put him in a class that includes Brian Leetch and Rod Gilbert.
Vickers also ranks in the top-ten on the Rangers list for all-time points. Throughout his career, he piled up 586 points, putting him at eighth on the impressive Rangers list.
For a guy that only played 10 seasons in the NHL, it makes one wonder what he might have been able to do if he was able to extend his career a few years longer.
Had that been the case, his name might be much higher on those lists.
Either way, Vickers is a guy who is widely considered as a Rangers great, and he played a vital role in New York’s success throughout the 1970′s.
Note: This column looks back at the 20 best players in the history of the New York Rangers, recapping each players role in the history of the team and their accomplishments in New York.