Top 5 New York Rangers’ Skaters Of All-Time
Top 5 New York Rangers' Skaters Of All-Time
Throughout the history of the New York Rangers, the franchise has had many great skaters who put on a Blueshirts uniform. Whether they spent their whole playing career with the Rangers or received them in a trade during or past their prime, there is no denying the many great players that Rangers fans have been blessed to see play at Madison Square Garden since 1926.
This list is for the top 5 greatest Rangers skaters of all time. The reason for saying skaters and not just players is because goalies will not be included on this list. So for all of you Henrik Lundqvist, Mike Richter, and Eddie Giacomin fans, please try your best not to hurt me. Also I am very sad to announce that Anson Carter, Tom Poti, Hugh Jessiman, Manny Malhotra, and Mike York all did not make this list as well. I know this shocks almost everyone and I pray that you know that was sarcasm at its finest. Anyway, with all that in mind, I believe it is very hard and nearly impossible to dispute any of the names on this list. Maybe the only thing people can indeed argue about is the order in which these names appear.
Overall points will of course be taken into consideration, but also the length of years played with the Rangers and obviously Stanley Cups won with The Blueshirts are two major factors that helped me form my opinion of who are the top 5 Rangers skaters of all time.
5. Jean Ratelle
Jean Ratelle starts off this list at number 5. He is third all-time in points for the Rangers with 817 in 16 seasons with the team and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985. In my opinion it is still a mystery and a travesty that his jersey has not been retired yet by the Rangers organization, but hopefully one day soon we can finally see his number 19 up in The Garden rafters.
4. Andy Bathgate
Andy Bathgate is fourth all-time in points with the Rangers and is number 4 on this list. His career with the Blueshirts spanned 12 years where he recorded a total of 729 points. Most likely if he played the same amount of seasons as Ratelle, Bathgate would be third on the Rangers all-time points list instead of fourth which is ultimately why I put Bathgate ahead of Ratelle. Bathgate was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978, and it was amazing that it took the Rangers organization until 2009 to finally retire his number 9 which is an honor well more deserving to Bathgate than Adam Graves.
3. Mark Messier
Some people would say the Messiah should be number 1, but instead he takes the third spot on this list. Mark Messier will always be my favorite player of all-time for many reasons. He guaranteed he would bring the Rangers a Stanley Cup and also guaranteed a victory in an elimination Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils in New Jersey, and he successfully completed both of those near impossible tasks. Mess is number five on the Rangers all-time points list with 691 but is worth putting over both Ratelle and Bathgate because unlike them, Messier won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers. But with his lack of years with the franchise, only 10, that is the reason why he is not higher up on this list.
Messier's jersey was retired in 2006 in a game against the team he won five cups with, the Edmonton Oilers, in what was an absolutely historic ceremony.
Messier is now currently the assistant to the president and general manager of the Rangers. He will always be involved with the Rangers organization in some way no matter what. He loves New York and all the fans, and all the fans will forever love him until the end of time.
2. Brian Leetch
Mark Messier has said time and time again that Brian Leetch is the greatest Ranger of all-time. He is very close to number 1 but just fell short on this list at number 2. Leetch is ranked second on the Rangers all-time points list with 981, spanning 17 seasons with the team. Sometimes Leetch does not get enough credit for the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup victory as Messier receives most of the praise. But without Leetch, a Stanley Cup in 94 would have never occurred. No matter how great a player is, one person does not make a team, and Messier knows this every time he calls Leetch the greatest Ranger ever.
Leetch's jersey was retired in 2008 and in that ceremony announced that his former teammate in 1994, Adam Graves, would get his jersey number retired in the following season. I am proud to say that I was in attendance at that game and will never forget it for the rest of my life.
1. Rod Gilbert
Number 1 on this list for the greatest Rangers skater of all-time is none other than Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert. Gilbert is number one all-time on the Rangers franchise points list with 1021 over an 18 year career, in which he spent all with the Rangers, and in 1979 he was the first Ranger ever to have his jersey retired to The Garden rafters.
Gilbert was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. Besides never winning a Stanley Cup in his career he did everything possible in a Rangers uniform, which is why he is the greatest Rangers skater and player who has ever worn a Rangers uniform.