New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in New York City. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the East Division. The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden in the borough of Manhattan, an arena they share with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They are one of three NHL teams located in the New York metropolitan area; the others being the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.
Founded in 1926 by Tex Rickard, the Rangers are one of the Original Six teams that competed in the NHL before its 1967 expansion, along with the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. The team attained success early on under the guidance of Lester Patrick, who coached a team containing Frank Boucher, Murray Murdoch, and Bun and Bill Cook to Stanley Cup glory in 1928, making them the first NHL franchise in the United States to win the trophy. The team would then go onto win two additional Stanley Cups in 1933 and 1940.
Following this initial grace period, the franchise struggled between the 1940s and 1960s, whereby playoff appearances and success was infrequent. The team enjoyed a mini renaissance in the 1970s, where they made the Stanley Cup finals twice, albeit, losing to the Bruins in 1972 and the Canadiens in 1979. The Rangers subsequently embraced a rebuild for much of the 1980s and early 1990s, which eventually paid dividends, where the team, led by Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, and Mike Richter, captured their fourth Stanley Cup in 1994.
The team was unable to duplicate that success in the years that followed, and entered into another period of mediocrity. They endured a franchise-record seven-year postseason drought from 1998 to 2005, and languished for the majority of the 2000s before enjoying another period of prosperity after the 2004–05 NHL Lockout. Upon the arrival of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers thrived, missing the playoffs just once between 2006 and 2017. They reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014, falling to the Los Angeles Kings in five games. They have since entered into another period of rebuilding.
Several former members of the Rangers have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, four of whom—Buddy O'Connor, Chuck Rayner, Andy Bathgate, and Messier—have won the Hart Memorial Trophy while playing for the team.
Early years (1926–1967)
George Lewis "Tex" Rickard, president of Madison Square Garden, was awarded an NHL franchise for the 1926–27 season to compete with the now-defunct New York Americans, who had begun play at the Garden the previous season. The Americans (also known as the "Amerks") proved to be an even greater success than expected during their inaugural season, leading Rickard to pursue a second team for the Garden despite promising the Amerks that they were going to be the only hockey team to play there. The new team was quickly nicknamed "Tex's Rangers".
Rickard's franchise began play in the 1926–27 season. The first team crest was a horse sketched in blue carrying a cowboy waving a hockey stick aloft, before being changed to the familiar "RANGERS" in diagonal. Rickard managed to get future legendary Toronto Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe to assemble the team. However, Smythe had a falling-out with Rickard's hockey man, Col. John S. Hammond, and was fired as manager-coach on the eve of the first season—he was paid a then-hefty $2,500 to leave. Smythe was replaced by Pacific Coast Hockey Association co-founder Lester Patrick. The new team Smythe assembled turned out to be a winner. The Rangers won the American Division title their first year but lost to the Boston Bruins in the playoffs.
The team's early success led to players becoming minor celebrities and fixtures in New York City's Roaring Twenties nightlife. It was also during this time, playing at the Garden on 48th Street, blocks away from Times Square, that the Rangers obtained their now-famous nickname "The Broadway Blueshirts". On December 13, 1929, the New York Rangers became the first team in the NHL to travel by plane when they hired the Curtiss-Wright Corporation to fly them to Toronto for a game against the Maple Leafs, which they lost 7–6.
In only their second season, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, defeating the Montreal Maroons three games to two. One of the most memorable stories that emerged from the finals involved Patrick playing in goal at the age of 44. At the time, teams were not required to dress a backup goaltender, so when the Rangers' starting goaltender, Lorne Chabot, left a game with an eye injury, Maroons head coach Eddie Gerard vetoed his original choice for a replacement (who was Alex Connell, another NHL goalie of the old Ottawa Senators who was in attendance for the game). An angry Patrick lined up between the pipes for two periods in Game 2 of the finals, allowing one goal to Maroons center Nels Stewart. Frank Boucher scored the game-winning goal in overtime for New York.
After a loss to the Bruins in the 1928–29 finals and an early struggle in the early 1930s, the Rangers, led by brothers Bill and Bun Cook on the right and left wings, respectively, and Frank Boucher at center, defeated the Maple Leafs in the 1932–33 best-of-five finals three games to one to win their second Stanley Cup, exacting revenge on the Leafs' "Kid line" of Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau and Charlie Conacher. The Rangers spent the rest of the 1930s playing close to 0.500 hockey until their next Cup win. Lester Patrick stepped down as head coach and was replaced by Frank Boucher.
In 1939–40 season, the Rangers finished the regular season in second place behind Boston. The two teams then met in the first round of the playoffs. The Bruins gained a two-games-to-one series lead from New York, but the Rangers recovered to win three-straight games, defeating the first-place Bruins four games to two. The Rangers' first round victory gave them a bye until the finals. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the New York Americans in their first round best-of-three series two games to one (even as the Americans had analytical and notorious ex-Bruins star Eddie Shore), and the Toronto Maple Leafs ousted the Chicago Black Hawks two games to none. The Maple Leafs and Red Wings then played a best-of-three series to determine who played the Rangers in the finals, where Toronto swept Detroit, thus determining the match-up. The 1940 Stanley Cup finals commenced in Madison Square Garden in New York. The first two games went to the Rangers. In Game 1, the Rangers needed overtime to gain a 1–0 series lead, but they won game two more easily with a 6–2 victory. The series then shifted to Toronto, where the Maple Leafs won the next two games, tying the series at two games apiece. In Games 5 and 6, the Rangers won in overtime, taking the series four games to two to earn their third Stanley Cup.
However, the Rangers collapsed by the mid-1940s, losing games by as much as 15–0 and having one goaltender post a 6.20 goals against average (GAA). They missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons before earning the fourth and final playoff spot in 1948. They lost in the first round and missed the playoffs again in 1948–49 season. In the 1950 Stanley Cup finals, the Rangers were forced to play all of their games on the road (home games in Toronto) while the circus was held at the Garden. They lost to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime in the seventh game of the finals.
During this time, Red Wings owner James E. Norris became the largest stockholder in the Garden. However, he did not buy controlling interest in the arena, which would have violated the NHL's rule against one person owning more than one team. Nonetheless, he had enough support on the board to exercise de facto control. The Rangers remained a mark of futility in the NHL for most of the remainder of the Original Six era, missing the playoffs in 12 of the next 16 years. However, the team was rejuvenated in the late 1960s, symbolized by moving into the fourth version of Madison Square Garden in 1968. A year earlier, they made the playoffs for the first time in five years on the strength of rookie goaltender Eddie Giacomin and acquired 1950s Montreal Canadiens star right wing Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion.
Post-Original Six era (1967–1993)
The Rangers made the finals twice in the 1970s, but lost both times to two '70s powerhouses; in six games to the Boston Bruins in 1972, who were led by such stars as Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, Johnny Bucyk and Wayne Cashman; and in five games to the Canadiens in 1979, who had Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden, Guy Lapointe and Serge Savard.
By 1971–72, the Rangers reached the Stanley Cup finals despite losing high-scoring center Jean Ratelle (who had been on pace over Bruin Phil Esposito to become the first Ranger since Bryan Hextall in 1942 to lead the NHL in scoring) to injury during the stretch drive of the regular season. The strength of players such as Brad Park, Jean Ratelle, Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert (the last three constructing the famed "GAG line", standing for "goal-a-game") carried them through the playoffs. They defeated the defending-champion Canadiens in the first round and the Chicago Black Hawks in the second, but lost to the Bruins in the finals.
In the 1972 playoffs, with Ratelle sidelined with a broken ankle and Gilbert hampered by injuries, Walt Tkaczuk played a key role as the Rangers defeated the defending champion Canadiens and the previous year's finalists, the Black Hawks, to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. While the Rangers lost to the Boston Bruins in six games, Tkaczuk earned much respect for holding the Bruins' Phil Esposito without a goal in the series.
The Rangers played a legendary conference semi-final series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1973–74 playoffs, losing in seven games and becoming the first Original Six club to lose a playoff series to a 1967 expansion team. This series was noted for a Game 7 fight between Dale Rolfe of the Rangers and Dave Schultz of the Flyers. The Rangers' new rivals, the New York Islanders, who entered the League in 1972 after paying a hefty territorial fee – some $4 million – to the Rangers, were their first round opponents in 1975. After splitting the first two games, the Islanders defeated the more-established Rangers 11 seconds into overtime of the deciding Game 3, establishing a rivalry that continued to grow for years.
In a blockbuster trade with Boston, New York acquired Esposito and Carol Vadnais from the Bruins for Park, Ratelle and Joe Zanussi in 1975, while Swedish stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson jumped to the Rangers from the League's rival, the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1978. In the 1979 NHL playoffs, New York then defeated the surging Islanders in the conference semi-finals and returned to the finals again before bowing out to the Canadiens. However, the Islanders got their revenge after eliminating the Rangers in four consecutive playoff series beginning in 1981 en route to their second of four consecutive Stanley Cup titles.
The Rangers stayed competitive through the 1980s and early 1990s, making the playoffs each year. In the 1985–86 playoffs, the Rangers, behind the play of rookie goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, upended the Patrick Division-winning Flyers in five games followed by a six-game win over the Washington Capitals in the Patrick Division finals. Montreal, however, disposed of the Rangers in the Wales Conference finals behind a rookie goaltender of their own, Patrick Roy. The next year, the Rangers acquired superstar center Marcel Dionne after almost 12 years as a Los Angeles King. In 1988, Dionne moved into third place in career goals scored (since bettered by Brett Hull). "Because you love the game so much, you think it will never end", said Dionne, who spent nine games in the minors before retiring in 1989. He played only 49 playoff games in 17 seasons with the Rangers, Kings and Detroit Red Wings.
Frustration was at its peak when the 1991–92 squad captured the Presidents' Trophy. They took a 2–1 series lead on the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins and then faltered in three-straight (some observers note a Ron Francis slapshot from outside the blue line that eluded goaltender Mike Richter as the series' turning point). The following year, injuries and a 1–11 regular season finish landed the Rangers at the bottom of the Patrick Division after being in a playoff position for much of the season. Head coach Roger Neilson did not finish the season.
During this period, the Rangers were owned by Gulf+Western, which was renamed to Paramount Communications in 1989, and sold to Viacom in 1994. Viacom then sold the team to ITT Corporation and Cablevision, and a couple of years later, ITT sold their ownership stake to Cablevision, who owned the team until 2010, when they spun off the MSG properties as their own company.
Ending the curse (1993–94)
The 1993–94 season was a successful one for Rangers fans, as Mike Keenan led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years. Two years prior, they picked up center Mark Messier, a part of the Edmonton Oilers' Cup-winning teams. Other ex-Oilers on the Rangers included Adam Graves, Kevin Lowe, Jeff Beukeboom, Esa Tikkanen, Craig MacTavish and Glenn Anderson. Graves set a team record with 52 goals, breaking the prior record of 50 held by Vic Hadfield. The Rangers clinched the Presidents' Trophy by finishing with the best record in the NHL at 52–24–8, setting a franchise record with 112 points earned.
The Rangers successfully made it past the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping the New York Islanders, and then defeating the Washington Capitals in five games. However, in the conference finals against the third-seeded New Jersey Devils, the Rangers lost the series opener at home in double overtime, but won the next two games before the Devils defeated them 3–1 and 4–1. The series headed back to the Meadowlands for the sixth game, in which Messier scored three times in the final period to lead the Rangers to a 4–2 win and set up a seventh game back at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won Game 7, 2–1, when Stephane Matteau scored a goal in double overtime, leading the team to the finals for the first time since 1979.
Up against the Vancouver Canucks, the Rangers again lost the series opener at home in overtime. The Rangers bounced back and they won the next three games, allowing the Canucks just four goals. However, the Canucks won the next two 6–3 and 4–1 to set up a seventh game, for the second consecutive series, at home. In the seventh game, the Rangers took a 2–0 first period lead, with Messier scoring later to put the Rangers up 3–1, the eventual Cup winning goal as the home team won 3–2, becoming the first (and to this date, the only) player to captain two teams to the Stanley Cup. Brian Leetch became the first American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, while Alexander Karpovtsev, Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov and Sergei Zubov became the first Russians to have their names engraved on the Cup.
Expensive acquisitions and post-season drought (1995–2004)
Despite having coached the Rangers to a regular season first-place finish and the Stanley Cup, head coach Mike Keenan left after a dispute with general manager Neil Smith. During the 1994–95 lockout-shortened season, the Rangers won their first-round series with the Quebec Nordiques, but lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Philadelphia Flyers in four games with succeeding head coach Colin Campbell. General manager Neil Smith orchestrated a deal that sent Sergei Zubov and center Petr Nedved to Pittsburgh in exchange for defenseman Ulf Samuelsson and left winger Luc Robitaille in the summer of 1995. The next season, the Rangers defeated the Canadiens in six games but lost their second round series to the Penguins in five games.
The Rangers then acquired Wayne Gretzky in 1996. Gretzky's greatest accomplishment with the Rangers was leading them to the 1997 Eastern Conference finals, where they lost 4–1 to the Flyers, who were then led by Eric Lindros. Mark Messier, a former Oiler teammate of Gretzky's, left in the summer of 1997 and the team failed in a bid to replace him with Colorado Avalanche superstar Joe Sakic. The Rangers missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons, finishing no higher than fourth in their division. Gretzky retired after the 1998–99 season.
In March 2000, Smith was fired along with head coach John Muckler, and that summer, James Dolan hired Glen Sather to replace him. By the end of the 2000–01 season, the Rangers had landed a significant amount of star power. Messier had returned to New York, Theoren Fleury joined the Rangers after spending most of his career with the Calgary Flames and Eric Lindros was traded to the Rangers by the Flyers. The Rangers also acquired Pavel Bure late in the 2001–02 season from the Florida Panthers. It was also the rookie season of goalie Dan Blackburn, who made the NHL All-Rookie Team even as the Rangers fell back to last place in the Conference, and finished out of the playoffs. Later years saw other stars such as Alexei Kovalev, Jaromir Jagr, Martin Rucinsky and Bobby Holik added, but in 2002–03 and 2003–04, the team again missed the playoffs. Blackburn started strongly in 2002–03, but burned out after 17 games. He missed 2003–04 due to mononucleosis and a damaged nerve in his left shoulder. Blackburn could not rehabilitate the damaged nerve, and was forced to retire at the age of 22.
Post-lockout revival (2004–2015)
Towards the end of the 2003–04 season, general manager Glen Sather finally gave in to a rebuilding process by trading away Brian Leetch, Alexei Kovalev, and eight others for numerous prospects and draft picks. With the retirements of Pavel Bure and Mark Messier, as well as Eric Lindros signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the post-lockout Rangers, under new head coach Tom Renney, moved away from high-priced veterans towards a group of talented young players, such as Petr Prucha, Dominic Moore and Blair Betts. However, the focus of the team remained on veteran superstar Jaromir Jagr. The Rangers were expected to struggle during the 2005–06 season, but behind stellar performances by Swedish rookie goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers finished the season with a record of 44–26–12, their best record since 1993–94.
Jagr broke the Rangers' single-season points record with a first-period assist in a 5–1 win against the New York Islanders on March 29, 2006. The assist gave him 110 points on the season, breaking Jean Ratelle's record. Less than two weeks later, on April 8, Jagr scored his 53rd goal of the season against the Boston Bruins, breaking the club record previously held by Adam Graves. Two games prior, on April 4, the Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3–2, in a shootout, to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 1996–97 season. In the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Rangers drew a matchup with the Devils and were defeated in a four-game sweep. Jagr fell two points short of winning his sixth Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion in 2005–06 (the San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton claimed the award, his first, with 125 points), but Jagr did win his third Pearson Award as the players' choice for the most outstanding player.
Realizing that the team had trouble scoring goals in the 2005–06 campaign, the Rangers signed Triple Gold Club winner and 12-time 30-goal scorer Brendan Shanahan to a one-year contract. On October 5, 2006, opening night of the 2006–07 season, Jagr was named the first team captain since Mark Messier's retirement. Though the Rangers started slow in the first half of the 2006–07 season, the second half was dominated by the stellar goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist. On February 5, 2007 the Rangers acquired agitating forward Sean Avery in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings, which brought further intensity to the team. Despite losing several players to injury in March, the Rangers went 10-2-3 in the month and clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season. Facing the Atlanta Thrashers in the first round of the playoffs, the Rangers swept the series. However, they were eliminated in the next round by the Buffalo Sabres.
At the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the Rangers chose Alexei Cherepanov 17th overall, who had been ranked by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau as the number one European skater. Despite the departure of Michael Nylander, the 2007 free agency season started with a bang for the Rangers, with the signing of two high-profile centerman; Scott Gomez on a seven-year contract, as well as Chris Drury on a five-year deal. The moves, along with retaining most other key players, had been met favorably, and the Rangers made the playoffs for the third consecutive season and the second round for the second season in a row. Despite these streaks, the Rangers failed to meet expectations, losing their second round series to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The following off-season saw the departures of captain Jaromir Jagr to the KHL, and alternate captains Martin Straka and Brendan Shanahan, who left to play in the Czech Republic and with the New Jersey Devils, respectively.
Following Jagr's departure Chris Drury was named captain on October 3, 2008. The Rangers were one of four NHL teams to open their 2008–09 season in Europe, being featured in the Victoria Cup final, defeating the European Champions Cup winner Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Bern, Switzerland. This was followed by two NHL regular-season games against Tampa Bay in Prague on October 4 and 5, and the Rangers won both games. The Rangers tied the 1983–84 Rangers for the best start in franchise history with a 5–0 record, and set the franchise record for best start in a season through the first 13 games by going 10–2–1 for 21 points, with the 10 wins and 21 points each becoming franchise records. A successful start to the season, however, was tempered with by the news of the sudden death of 2007 first-round pick Alexei Cherepanov, which occurred during a KHL game in Russia on October 13, 2008. A disappointing second half of the season followed. After the Rangers went 2-7-3 in 12 games, coach Tom Renney was fired, with 2004 Stanley Cup and Jack Adams Award winner John Tortorella named as his replacement. The Rangers made the 2009 playoffs, but lost their opening round series to the Washington Capitals four games to three. On June 30, 2009 the Rangers traded Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt, and Michael Busto to the Montreal Canadiens for Ryan McDonagh, Chris Higgins, Pavel Valentenko, and Doug Janik. With Gomez's salary cap hit gone, the Rangers signed superstar Marian Gaborik on the first day of free agency. In the 2009–10 season, the Rangers failed to make the playoffs for the first time in five years. There was some criticism that the off-season acquisition of Gaborik had not paid off, despite Gaborik scoring 42 goals and 86 points in the season. The final two games of the season were a home-and-home against the Philadelphia Flyers, with both teams competing for the same playoff spot. The Rangers skated away with the victory in the first game, keeping their post-season hopes alive. In the second game, the Flyers peppered Henrik Lundqvist with 47 shots, but scored only once. The game went to a shootout, and the Flyers prevailed to move on to the playoffs.
For the 2010–11 season, the Rangers waived defenseman Wade Redden and brought in several players to achieve more balanced scoring. On November 12, the Rangers unveiled the new Heritage Jersey for the first time at the rink at Rockefeller Center in a special ceremony featuring Rangers alumni and current players discussing the history of the storied franchise. The club wore the jersey for the first time on November 17 when they played the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers' playoff chances came down to the final day of the regular season for the second-straight year. The team defeated the New Jersey Devils and passed the Carolina Hurricanes in the standings, putting the Rangers in the playoffs after missing-out the previous season. The Rangers faced Washington in the first round and lost the series in five games. It was the second time in three years that the Capitals eliminated the Rangers from the playoffs, fueling a rivalry that would last several seasons.
On May 13, 2011, Rangers forward Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minnesota apartment. On June 29, 2011 the Rangers bought out captain Chris Drury's contract. On July 2, 2011, the Rangers signed free agent Brad Richards to a nine-year contract. On September 12, 2011, Ryan Callahan was named the 26th captain in the Rangers' history. He became the fifth-youngest captain in team history. Brad Richards and Marc Staal were named alternate captains on the same day.
In the 2011–12 season, the Rangers finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, recording 51 wins and 109 points. Their leading scorer was Marian Gaborik, who finished the season with 41 goals and 76 points while playing all 82 games. In the first round of the playoffs, the Rangers faced the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators. After falling behind 3–2 in the series, the Rangers bounced back to win Game 6 in Ottawa as well as Game 7 at home. In the next round, the Rangers once again faced the Capitals. In Game 3, Gaborik scored to win 14:41 into the third overtime, giving the Rangers a 2–1 lead in the series, but Washington came back to tie the series 2–2 in Game 4. Washington was up by one during the final minutes of Game 5 when Joel Ward committed a high-sticking double-minor. Richards scored to tie with just 6.6 seconds remaining, and in overtime, defenseman Marc Staal scored on the second penalty of the double-minor just 1:35 into overtime. Rangers went on to win the series 4–3, sending them to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1997. In the conference finals, they faced the New Jersey Devils, a major divisional rival. After leading the series 2–1, the Rangers lost 3 games in a row, losing Game 6 in New Jersey with a goal by Devils forward Adam Henrique at 1:03 in overtime, giving the Devils a 4–2 series win and ending the Rangers' season.
Return to the Finals and third Presidents' Trophy
On July 23, 2012 the Rangers traded Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a 2013 first-round draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Rick Nash, Steven Delisle, and a 2013 conditional third-round pick. At the 2013 NHL trade deadline on April 3, the Rangers then traded Marian Gaborik, Steven Delisle, and Blake Parlett to Columbus for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore, and a 2014 sixth-round draft pick. After the Rangers were eliminated from the second round of the playoffs by Boston, management fired head coach John Tortorella, and on June 21, 2013, general manager Glen Sather formally introduced former Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault as Tortorella's replacement.
On March 5, 2014, the Rangers traded their captain Ryan Callahan, a first-round draft pick in 2015, a conditional second-round pick in 2014 (which later became a first-round pick), and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015, for Tampa Bay captain Martin St. Louis and a conditional second-round pick in 2015. The trade occurred both due to the Rangers' and Callahan's inability to reach a contract extension over the course of the season, as well as St. Louis' growing tension with the Lightning organization and subsequent request to be traded to New York. During the regular season, the Rangers won 25 road games, a new franchise record. In the first round of the 2014 playoffs, New York defeated Philadelphia in seven games, and in the next round, the Rangers rallied from a 3–1 series deficit for the first time in their history to defeat Pittsburgh in seven games. They then defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games to become the Eastern Conference champions, moving on to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 20 years. In the finals, they faced the Los Angeles Kings, the Western Conference champions and champions in 2012. The Rangers led the first two games by two goals but lost each game in overtime, and were then shut-out at home 3–0 in Game 3. The Kings outshot the Rangers in Game 4, but the Rangers staved off elimination by winning the game 2–1. They had another lead in Game 5, but after the game was tied and subsequently sent to overtime, Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored with 5:17 left in the second overtime period to win the game for Los Angeles, 3–2, as well as the Stanley Cup.
On June 20, 2014, a week after their season ended, the Rangers bought-out the remaining six years of Brad Richards' contract in order to free up salary cap space. This move left Marc Staal and Dan Girardi as the team's remaining alternate captains. On October 6, 2014, defenseman Ryan McDonagh was named the Rangers' 27th captain in team history, with Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Martin St. Louis serving as alternates.
In the 2014–15 season the Rangers won the Presidents' Trophy for the third time in franchise history and their seventh division title by finishing with the best record in the NHL at 53–22–7. The 53 wins and 113 points both set franchise records. The division title was the Rangers' first in the Metropolitan Division, which was created during the NHL's realignment in the 2013 off-season. The team won 28 road games in the regular season, breaking the franchise record set the previous season. In the playoffs the Rangers dispatched the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games in the first round. The Rangers then came back from a 3–1 series deficit to win their second-round series against the Capitals in seven games, becoming the first team in NHL history to battle back from a 3–1 deficit in back-to-back seasons and sending the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in four years. However, after winning the first game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers lost Game 2 by four goals. The two teams split the first four games of the series, but the Rangers lost Game 5 by a 2–0 scoreline at home, which gave the Lightning an opportunity to clinch the conference finals in Tampa Bay. However, this did not happen in Game 6, as Derick Brassard scored a hat-trick and assisted on two other goals in an emphatic 7–3 Rangers victory to force Game 7 in New York. There, the Lightning shutout the Rangers 2–0, ending the Rangers' season, and marking the first occasion the Rangers had ever lost a Game 7 at home in franchise history as well as the first time they lost an elimination game at home since they lost to Buffalo in 2007.
Jeff Gorton era (2015–present)
On June 27, 2015 the Rangers traded Carl Hagelin to the Anaheim Ducks, Cam Talbot and a draft pick to the Edmonton Oilers for three draft picks, and prospect Ryan Haggerty to the Chicago Blackhawks for Antti Raanta, who replaced Talbot as Lundqvist's backup goaltender Subsequently, on July 1, 2015, Glen Sather resigned as the general manager, with Jeff Gorton taking his place to become the 11th general manager in team history. On July 2, 2015, Martin St. Louis announced his retirement. The team then re-signed Jesper Fast, J. T. Miller, and Derek Stepan.
The Rangers started the 2015–16 season well, and after 18 games had a 14–2–2 record, including a nine-game winning streak. However, the team lost the momentum and floundered, posting a 4–7–2 record in December for only ten points. After returning from holiday break, the team gradually improved their play to the standard set in the first 18 games, going on a 10–3–1 run without any back-to-back losses in February. The Rangers finished the season with 101 points for back-to-back 100+ point seasons. Despite high hopes, the Rangers were eliminated in the first round of the 2016 playoffs by a Penguins team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup.
Over the course of the summer, the Rangers extended Antti Raanta's contract, signed Pavel Buchnevich to an entry-level contract, and re-signed J. T. Miller, Chris Kreider, and Kevin Hayes. On July 18, the Rangers traded Derick Brassard and a 2018 seventh-round draft pick in exchange for Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 second-round draft pick, The team also signed Michael Grabner to a two-year deal and the much-anticipated college sensation Jimmy Vesey to a two-year entry-level contract. The Rangers finished the 2016–17 season in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with 102 points. In the first round of the playoffs, they won their series with the Montreal Canadiens in six games. In the second game of their second round series with the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers held a two-goal lead on three different occasions, but lost in the second overtime, putting themselves in a 2–0 series deficit. The team responded with consecutive 4–1 home wins in Games 3 and 4 to tie the series at two games apiece. However, in the next two games of the series, the Rangers faltered and were eliminated by the Senators in six games.
On June 14, 2017, the Rangers announced a buyout of the remaining three years on Dan Girardi's contract. Just over a week later, the Rangers traded Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a first-round draft pick (seventh overall) and former first-round pick Tony DeAngelo. The Rangers' management was also successful in signing top free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on July 1, 2017, to a four-year deal. With injuries sidelining Shattenkirk, Kreider, and Zibanejad, the Rangers struggled to compete. By February 8, 2018 the team had a 25–24–5 record, leading the front office to issue a letter to fans announcing the Rangers would be going through a rebuild and may "lose some familiar faces" in the process. Rick Nash was traded the day before the 2018 NHL trade deadline to the Bruins for a 2018 first-round pick, a 2019 seventh-round pick, Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner and prospect Ryan Lindgren. The following day, the Rangers traded captain Ryan McDonagh and J. T. Miller to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Vladislav Namestnikov, prospects Brett Howden and Libor Hajek and multiple draft picks. With the team missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010, finishing under .500 for the first time since 2004, and placing last in the Metropolitan Division, head coach Vigneault was fired after the conclusion of the season.
On May 23, David Quinn was hired as the team's new head coach. During the off-season, Hayes, Vesey, Brady Skjei and Spooner all filed for salary arbitration and all of them were re-signed. Despite a mediocre 2018–19 season, Gorton and his team remained committed to rebuilding the franchise. The much anticipated pair of 2017 first-round draft picks—Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson—both made their NHL debuts, and early in the season Ryan Spooner was traded to Edmonton for Ryan Strome. With the trade deadline approaching and their playoff chances slim, the Rangers once again traded away veteran players, beginning with fan-favorite Mats Zuccarello being sent to the Dallas Stars in exchange for two conditional draft picks. Kevin Hayes was sent to Winnipeg in exchange for a first-round pick, a conditional pick, and forward Brendan Lemieux.
After ending the season on a high note with an overtime win against the Penguins, the Rangers received the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and subsequently used it to select forward Kaapo Kakko. On May 17, 2019, former Ranger goaltender and broadcaster John Davidson resigned from his position as president of the Columbus Blue Jackets and returned to New York to become the organization's new president. Davidson and Gorton then addressed the team's defensive woes by acquiring top prospect Adam Fox from Carolina for a pair of picks, and Jacob Trouba from Winnipeg for Neal Pionk and a first-round pick (previously acquired from Winnipeg in the trade for Kevin Hayes). The team also signed free agent Artemi Panarin to a seven-year deal on July 1, 2019. To help with salary cap restrictions, the Rangers then traded Jimmy Vesey and bought out the last two years of Shattenkirk's contract.
The 2019–20 season was a leap forward for the re-building Rangers; Panarin lived up expectations and earned a Hart Trophy nomination, rookie goaltender Igor Shestyorkin proved to be a worthy successor to aging superstar Henrik Lundqvist, Chris Kreider signed a seven-year contract extension, and Mika Zibanejad emerged as an elite forward, recording a 5-goal-game against Washington on March 5 and ending up with 41 goals in 57 games played. By early March 2020 the Rangers were within striking distance of the second wild-card position when the coronavirus pandemic halted the regular season. In May 2020, the league announced a 24-team playoff tournament to complete the season, where the Rangers were seeded eleventh and faced the sixth-seeded Carolina Hurricanes; the Hurricanes swept the Rangers. After being eliminated from the playoffs the Rangers were entered into the second phase of the NHL draft lottery where the team won the lottery and were awarded the first pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, which was ultimately used to select Alexis Lafreniere. Later in the off-season, the team traded veteran defenseman Marc Staal to the Red Wings.
On September 30, 2020, the Rangers bought out the final year of Henrik Lundqvist's contract, ending his tenure in New York after 15 years. On January 31, 2021, defenseman Tony DeAngelo was placed on waivers by the Rangers, following reports that he had an altercation with teammate Alexandar Georgiev following a 5–4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This came after he was benched for two games after taking an unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on opening night. According to The Athletic, his continued "maturity" issues, combined with a marked decline in his play, led the Rangers to put him on the market; there were no takers.
The classic Rangers sweater has been in use since the franchise's foundation, with several alterations along the way. The current blue uniform has the serifed word "RANGERS" in red and white drop shadow arranged diagonally, with red and white stripes on the sleeves and tail. Originally, the uniform was light blue, before it switched to a darker classic Rangers "Broadway Blue" in 1929. In addition, the original versions neither had a drop shadow nor were serifed. During the 1946–47 season, the word "RANGERS" was arranged in an arch form above the sweater number. It adopted its current form the next season, along with dropshadowed numbers, except for a brief period where the city name was used, a tie-down collar was not used and the tail and sleeve stripes were separated by thin blue stripes. Red pants have been used with the uniform since the 1929–30 season.
The white jerseys were first unveiled in the 1951–52 season, as part of a mandate that regulated NHL teams to have a dark home jersey and a light away jersey. The serifed word "RANGERS" is also arranged diagonally, but in blue with red drop shadow. A quinticolor of blue, white and red stripes accentuate the tail and sleeves, while a blue shoulder yoke with white and red stripes completes the look. The white sweaters, with minor changes such as a tie-down collar and arched player names, have remained virtually unchanged since.
During the tenure of general manager John Ferguson Sr., he sought to modernize the Rangers sweater by featuring rounded numbers, a darker shade of blue and the shield logo, which was unveiled in the 1976–77 season. A blue and red stripe (white and red stripe in the blue sweaters) extend from the yoke to the sleeves, while blue pants were used. However, it proved unpopular with the fans, and following the 1977–78 season it was replaced by an updated version of their classic uniforms. Ferguson used this similar design when he became GM of the original Winnipeg Jets.
The modernized classic uniforms introduced in 1978 featured some subtle changes. Both jerseys featured a V-neck collar in a red-white-red pattern, and bolder stripes on the sleeves and waistline. On the blue jersey, the red and white stripes were separated by thin blue stripes, along with the waistline stripes being raised above the hemline so that the patterns on both jerseys matched. From 1978 to 1987, the blue jersey (then the road jersey) featured "NEW YORK" diagonally across the front instead of the traditional "RANGERS" wordmark, similar to their current heritage alternate jerseys. In 1997, the Rangers reverted the blue jersey's design, restoring the old striping pattern, and becoming the first team to re-introduce lace-up collars. The white jerseys followed suit in 1999, and the design was carried over to the Reebok Edge template in 2007.
The Rangers previously had a navy alternate jersey featuring the head of the Statue of Liberty with the team abbreviation (NYR) below in a futuristic script. Silver was used as an accent color, but the player names and numbers retain the same color schemes as the regular jerseys, except for a darker shade of blue. Other than a white version used in the 1998–99 season, this jersey was used from 1996 to 2007, and proved to be highly popular with fans.
During the 2010–11 season, the Rangers debuted a heritage blue jersey as their new alternate uniform. The jersey features a darker shade a blue, as well as a cream trim. Unlike the regular jerseys, the font of the alternate is in sans-serif and does not feature a dropshadow, much like the original Rangers jersey. The Rangers wore the jerseys at home on Saturdays and when they played against Original Six teams. For the 2017–18 season, the heritage jersey was retired because of the league-wide switch to the Adidas uniform format.
In the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, the Rangers wore a cream jersey combining classic and current styles. A different version of the shield logo was used, while the player names were arranged in a straight line. The stripes were also lessened, giving it a minimalist, vintage look, as most Winter Classic jerseys are.
For the 2014 NHL Stadium Series, the Rangers used white jerseys with the city name in navy, silver and red. In addition, they feature diagonal stripes and sleeve numbers, and enlarged numbers on the back to make them more readable to spectators. The chrome version of the shield logo is placed in the left shoulder. Like the Winter Classic sweaters, player names are in a straight position.
The 2018 NHL Winter Classic saw the Rangers wear a navy jersey with a combination of elements from prior uniform designs. The striping design was inspired from their current uniforms, while the white "RANGERS" wordmark was a nod from the team's late 1920s jerseys. A white silhouette of the Rangers' shield logo contained either the abbreviation "N.Y." or the alternate captain "A" and captain "C" designations. Player names are arranged in a straight position.
During the 2020–21 season, the Rangers released a "Reverse Retro" alternate uniform in collaboration with Adidas. The uniform featured the "Lady Liberty" design worn from 1996 to 2007, but with a few changes in the striping.
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Rangers. For the full season-by-season history, see List of New York Rangers seasons.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime/Shootout Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Players and personnel
Updated February 22, 2021
- Bill Cook, 1926–1937
- Art Coulter, 1937–1942
- Ott Heller, 1942–1945
- Neil Colville, 1945–1948
- Buddy O'Connor, 1949–1950
- Frank Eddolls, 1950–1951
- Allan Stanley, 1951–1953
- Don Raleigh, 1953–1955
- Harry Howell, 1955–1957
- George Sullivan, 1957–1961
- Andy Bathgate, 1961–1964
- Camille Henry, 1964–1965
- Bob Nevin, 1965–1971
- Vic Hadfield, 1971–1974
- Brad Park, 1974–1975
- Phil Esposito, 1975–1978
- Dave Maloney, 1978–1980
- Walt Tkaczuk, 1980–1981
- Barry Beck, 1981–1986
- Ron Greschner, 1986–1987
- Kelly Kisio, 1987–1991
- Mark Messier, 1991–1997
- Brian Leetch, 1997–2000
- Mark Messier, 2000–2004
- Jaromir Jagr, 2006–2008
- Chris Drury, 2008–2011
- Ryan Callahan, 2011–2014
- Ryan McDonagh, 2014–2018
The current general manager is Jeff Gorton, who was named on July 1, 2015.
The current head coach is David Quinn, who was named on May 23, 2018.
Team and league honors
Awards and trophies
The following lists the league awards which have been won by the Rangers team and its players and alumni:
- Jean Ratelle: 1970–71
- Rod Gilbert: 1975–76
- Anders Hedberg: 1984–85
- Adam Graves: 2000–01
- Dominic Moore: 2013–14
- John Kilpatrick & Tommy Lockhart: 1967–68
- William M. Jennings & Terry Sawchuk: 1970–71
- Murray Murdoch: 1973–74
- Bill Chadwick: 1974–75
- Phil Esposito: 1977–78
- Fred Shero: 1979–80
- Emile Francis: 1981–82
- Lynn Patrick: 1988–89
- Rod Gilbert: 1990–91
- Frank Boucher: 1992–93
- Wayne Gretzky: 1993–94
- Brian Mullen: 1994–95
- Pat LaFontaine: 1996–97
- Craig Patrick: 1999–00
- Herb Brooks & Larry Pleau: 2001–02
- John Davidson: 2003–04
- Red Berenson & Marcel Dionne: 2005–06
- Brian Leetch & John Halligan: 2006–07
- Mark Messier & Mike Richter: 2008–09
- Bob Crocker: 2014–15
- Dr. Jack Blatherwick: 2018–19
First-round draft picks
- 1963: Al Osborne (4th overall)
- 1964: Bob Graham (3rd overall)
- 1965: Andre Veilleux (1st overall)
- 1966: Brad Park (2nd overall)
- 1967: Bob Dickson (6th overall)
- 1968: none
- 1969: André Dupont (8th overall) & Pierre Jarry (12th)
- 1970: Norm Gratton (11th overall)
- 1971: Steve Vickers (10th overall) & Steve Durbano (13th)
- 1972: Al Blanchard (10th overall) & Bob MacMillan (15th)
- 1973: Rick Middleton (14th overall)
- 1974: Dave Maloney (14th overall)
- 1975: Wayne Dillon (12th overall)
- 1976: Don Murdoch (6th overall)
- 1977: Lucien DeBlois (8th overall) & Ron Duguay (13th)
- 1978: none
- 1979: Doug Sulliman (13th overall)
- 1980: Jim Malone (14th overall)
- 1981: James Patrick (9th overall)
- 1982: Chris Kontos (15th overall)
- 1983: Dave Gagner (12th overall)
- 1984: Terry Carkner (14th overall)
- 1985: Ulf Dahlen (7th overall)
- 1986: Brian Leetch (9th overall)
- 1987: Jayson More (10th overall)
- 1988: none
- 1989: Steven Rice (20th overall)
- 1990: Michael Stewart (13th overall)
- 1991: Alexei Kovalev (15th overall)
- 1992: Peter Ferraro (24th overall)
- 1993: Niklas Sundstrom (8th overall)
- 1994: Dan Cloutier (26th overall)
- 1995: none
- 1996: Jeff Brown (22nd overall)
- 1997: Stefan Cherneski (19th overall)
- 1998: Manny Malhotra (7th overall)
- 1999: Pavel Brendl (4th overall) & Jamie Lundmark (9th)
- 2000: none
- 2001: Dan Blackburn (10th overall)
- 2002: none
- 2003: Hugh Jessiman (12th overall)
- 2004: Al Montoya (6th overall) & Lauri Korpikoski (19th)
- 2005: Marc Staal (12th overall)
- 2006: Bob Sanguinetti (21st overall)
- 2007: Alexei Cherepanov (17th overall)
- 2008: Michael Del Zotto (20th overall)
- 2009: Chris Kreider (19th overall)
- 2010: Dylan McIlrath (10th overall)
- 2011: J. T. Miller (15th overall)
- 2012: Brady Skjei (28th overall)
- 2013: none
- 2014: none
- 2015: none
- 2016: none
- 2017: Lias Andersson (7th overall) & Filip Chytil (21st)
- 2018: Vitali Kravtsov (9th overall), K'Andre Miller (22nd) & Nils Lundkvist (28th)
- 2019: Kaapo Kakko (2nd overall)
- 2020: Alexis Lafreniere (1st overall) & Braden Schneider (19th)
Hall of Famers
The New York Rangers acknowledge an affiliation with a number of inductees to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Rangers inductees include 53 former players and nine builders of the sport. The nine individuals recognized as builders by the Hall of Fame includes former Rangers executives, general managers, head coaches, and owners. In addition to players and builders, several broadcasters were also awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Sal Messina, a color commentator, was the first Rangers broadcaster to be awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. Other Rangers broadcasters awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award include John Davidson (awarded in 2009), and Sam Rosen (awarded in 2016).
- 1 The number was retired in honor of two different players.
- Points: Jaromir Jagr (2005–06) – 123
- Goals: Jaromir Jagr (2005–06) – 54
- Assists: Brian Leetch (1991–92) – 80
- Power play goals: Jaromir Jagr (2005–06) – 24
- Power play points: Brian Leetch (1993–94) – 53
- Power play assists: Brian Leetch (1990–91) – 45
- Short-handed goals: Theoren Fleury (2000–01) – 7
- Short-handed points: Mark Messier (1996–97) – 11
- Short-handed assists: Mark Messier (1993–94) – 7
- Even strength goals: Jean Ratelle (1971–72) – 40
- Even strength points: Jean Ratelle (1971–72) – 82
- Even strength assists: Mark Messier (1991–92), Wayne Gretzky (1996–97), & Artemi Panarin (2019–20) – 46
- Game-winning goals: 6 players — 9
- Overtime goals: Tomas Sandstrom (1986–87), Adam Graves (1998–99), & Marian Gaborik (2011–12) – 3
- Empty net goals: Michael Grabner (2017–18) – 7
- Plus/minus: Brad Park (1971–72) – +63 / Ron Greschner (1975–76) – -50
- Shots on goal: Jaromir Jagr (2005–06) – 368
- Penalty minutes: Troy Mallette (1989–90) – 305
- Goaltending wins: Mike Richter (1993–94) – 42
- Goaltending shutouts: John Ross Roach (1928–1929) – 13
- Goaltending saves: Gump Worsley (1955–1956) – 2376
All single-season records verifiable from: Official Site of the National Hockey League | NHL.com
Franchise scoring leaders
These are the top-ten-point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
- – current Rangers player
- Boucher, Frank; Frayne, Trent (1973). When The Rangers Were Young. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company. ISBN 0-396-06852-9.
- Halligan, John (2000). New York Rangers: Seventy-Five Years. ISBN 0-7607-2298-6.
- Halligan, John (2003). The New York Rangers (Images of Sports). ISBN 0-7385-1228-1.
- Kreiser, John; Friedman, Lou (1997). The New York Rangers: Broadway's Longest Running Hit. ISBN 1-57167-041-6.
- McFarlane, Brian (1997). The Rangers. ISBN 0-7737-6007-5.
- Meisel, Barry (1995). Losing the Edge: The Rise and Fall of the Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers. ISBN 0-684-81519-2.
- NY Daily News (2000). New York Rangers: Millennium Memories. ISBN 1-58261-147-5.
- Sloman, Larry (1981). Thin Ice: A Season in Hell With the New York Rangers. ISBN 0-440-18571-8.
- Rangers' Biggest Trades Since 1990 (October 6, 2006)