The New York Rangers are an original six franchise in the NHL, so it’s no surprise that they’ve seen quite a few great players pass through their locker room. Below we will have a look at some of those great players that have had short stints in New York that can be forgotten.
When you hear the name Lafleur, you instantly think Montreal Canadiens, and while he played 14 seasons in Montreal, he did have one year where he donned Ranger blue. Following a three-year break from NHL hockey, Lafleur tried his hand at a comeback, he attended Rangers training camp and was able to make the club. He told Robin Finn of The New York Times about the career move,
”A lot of people didn’t think my comeback was possible, but I did it.”
Lafleur had a decent output that year, notching 18 goals, and 27 assists. He was good enough to play two more seasons in the NHL, but those years were under the banner of the Quebec Nordiques.
Laperriere was one of the great agitating, checking forwards the history of the NHL. By the end of his journey in 2009-2010, he had played 1,083 regular-season games with five different teams. One of those mentioned stints took place in New York back in 1995-1996. The Rangers acquired the forward from the St. Louis Blues in 1995, and after only 28 games, he posted three points and 58 penalty minutes. The organization eventually decided to move him as part of a package going to the Los Angeles Kings for Jari Kurri.
Lapierre would stay with the Kings for eight seasons after the deal, and solidify himself as an important bottom six forward.
He’s one of the greatest American Coaches in NHL history, but Laviolette also had a short stint in Manhattan as a player, where he dressed in 12 games and racked up six penalty minutes. This was his only experience in the NHL, and after a few more years in the AHL, he decided to try his hand behind the bench.
The bench boss got his first chance coaching in the NHL with the New York Islanders in 2001-2002, he won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-2006, and currently coaches the Nashville Predators.
The Russian rocket always comes to mind wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey. He was with the Rangers for two seasons, and the injury-plagued Bure only played 51 games; in that time, the forward still managed to notch 50 points. Once he hurt his knee in 2002, it was all downhill and the forward would eventually retire because of the ailment. He finished his career in Manhattan at the age of 32. Bure will be remembered more for his penalty shot on Mike Richter in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals than he will be for his stint in New York.
Zubov will go down in history as a Dallas Star, but the Russian defenseman was part of the 1994 Stanley Cup team. He was drafted by the Rangers in the 5th round (85th overall) in 1990 and would join the NHL club in 1992-1993. He was impressive in his rookie season notching 31 points in 49 games, but it was the following season where the defender separated himself, by posting 89 points in 78 games played, which was best on a terrific Rangers club that year.
That’s right, even “The Great One” himself had a stop on Broadway, his stint was three years which is longer than others on this list, but seriously, how could I leave out Gretzky. He’s remembered as an Edmonton Oiler, and a Los Angeles King, but there’s no doubt that his presence in the big city was impactful. His first two seasons were great; as the forward posted 187 points in 164 games. His final year wasn’t too bad either where the forward found 62 points in 70 games. Following that Gretzky would poetically call it a career in 1999. The only reason that he can be forgotten as a Ranger has to do with the unbelievable success he had on other teams.
His final point is probably one of the most iconic moments in the history of the game.
Kurri found his way to Broadway along with Marty McSorley, and Shane Churla for the conclusion of the 1995-1996 season. Going back the other way were Ray Ferraro, Mattias Norstrom, and Laperriere (whose also mentioned on this list). Kurri was decent in New York; the Finish forward only had one goal and four assists in 14 regular-season games, but he had a better post-season notching eight points in 11 playoff games.
Kurri is remembered in the league for his play with the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings.
Anderson was a great NHL player and a true testament to that was his ability to join the Rangers for their 1994 Stanley Cup run to help them break their curse. He was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs along with a draft pick, and Scott Malone, for Mike Gartner. Anderson only played in 12 regular-season games for the Rangers and had four goals and two assists. He would go on to post six points in the post-season as well, but the key to Anderson wasn’t his production regarding points, it was his veteran ability to do the little things on the ice, to give a good team added depth.
Anderson played three more seasons after that run, but the forward will be remembered for his 12 years as a member of the Oilers.
Verbeek had a seven-year stint with the Devils and a six-year stop with the Hartford Whalers before landing in Manhattan. He is acquired during the 1994-1995 campaign for Glen Featherstone, Michael Stewart, a first-round pick, and a fourth-round pick. Verbeek was solid for the Rangers in the post-season with 10 points in 10 games, but he made his mark on the team the following year when he posted 82 points in 69 games played.
1995-1996 was one of his best seasons as a point producer, sadly the forward would never come close to that total again in the following six years.
Savard was drafted in the fourth-round (96th overall) in the NHL Draft back in 1995. At 20-years old, Savard would crack the Rangers’ lineup and play in 28 games, where he scored one goal and five assists. In the following year, the centerman got into 70 games and saw his production jump to 45 points. Despite a strong showing, Savard was moved to the Calgary Flames, along with a Rangers first-round pick (Oleg Saprykin), for the Flames first-round pick (Jamie Lundmark), a third-round pick (Craig Anderson), and Jan Hlavac.
Savard would go on to play 12 more seasons in the NHL and would finish his career with 706 points in 807 games. Savard is still technically a member of the Florida Panthers, but it seems very unlikely that he every plays again, due to concussion issues.
Just remember folks, there could be a ton of guys on this list, the hardest part was getting it down to 10.
I graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism. Shortly after, I began writing for the Full Tilt Hockey Network, where I still contribute, covering a broad range of topics across the NHL.
I have been contributing to The Hockey Writers since February of this year focusing on the New York Rangers. My articles tend to focus on analysis of players, and possible directions that the organization could go.