The New York Rangers have been around since the very beginnings of the NHL as an Original Six team. Joining as the last of the “six” in 1926, the Rangers have a rich and storied history.
In 92 seasons, there have been three names to grace the illusive 50-goal scoring mark. There have been quite a few to nearly touch the feat, but never make it. These Blueshirts who joined the 50 club are Vic Hadfield, Adam Graves and Jaromir Jagr.
Rangers’ Almost 50-Goal Scorers
After those three, there are a few Rangers who came very close. Each could smell the 50-goal mark, but came up empty. During the 1990-91 season, Mike Gartner was just one goal shy with 49. He had previously hit that plateau, as apart of the Washington Capitals, during the 1984-85 season.
Following Gartner came Pierre Larouche in 1983-84. He finished the season with 48 goals in 77 games in his first season as a Ranger. After that came Mark Messier in the 1995-96 season. Messier, who was already of the 50+ goal club in 1981-82, scored 47 times.
Rangers’ 50-Goal Scorers
Vic Hadfield: One-Time Member of the Rangers’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 50 goals in 78 games during the 1971-72 season.
After 45 seasons in the NHL, the Rangers finally had a 50-goal scorer. Vic Hadfield broke the seal and scored 50 during the 1971-72 season.
As apart of the “GAG line” or “Goal A Game” line, Hadfield was joined by Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert. The trio were labeled during the 1971-72 season, as they combined for 139 of the team’s 317 goals. The power play was Hadfield’s bread and butter as nearly half of his goals came during the man advantage, 23 of 50.
On Dec. 2, 2018, Hadfield joined his “GAG” line-mates in the rafters of Madison Square Garden. There will never be another Blueshirt to wear number 11.
Hadfield was described as a player who played with as much grit and tenacity as offensive prowess. Over his 16 seasons and 1004 games in the NHL, he racked up 1159 penalty minutes. He would only score as much as 31 goals in 1974-75, beside the 50 goals in 1971-72 season.
Adam Graves: One-Time Member of the Rangers’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 52 goals in 84 games during the 1993-94 season.
The 1993-94 season will forever be etched in the minds and hearts of all Rangers fans, young and old. After 54 long and disappointing seasons, the Blueshirts were back on top of the NHL and hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup. Helping them get there was Graves with a 52-goal season, then a franchise record for one season.
Graves had reached the 30-goal mark on three separate occasions, but never hit 40. This 52-goal campaign was supplemented with help from line-mate and captain, Messier. During the record-breaking game against his previous team, the Edmonton Oilers, on Mar. 29, 1994, Graves scored the tying 50th and record-breaking 51st goal.
On Feb. 3, 2009, Graves’ No. 9 was retired and raised by the Rangers to join the other greats above the ice at MSG. This journey to the 50-goal club and Cup victory cemented his name in Rangers lore forever.
Jaromir Jagr: One-Time Member of the Rangers’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 54 goals in 82 games during the 2005-06 season with the New York Rangers.
In 2004, the NHL underwent a league-wide lockout. Once the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and NHL Players Association was copacetic, the NHL was back for the 2005-06 season. The Rangers reached their first playoff berth since the 1996-97 season, and Jaromir Jagr set the goals record in a single season with 54.
Alongside Michael Nylander and Martin Straka, Jagr also set the points record at 123 for a season. The trio led the Rangers to a playoff berth, but it didn’t account for any wins in the first round. During his 54-goal season, Jagr was constantly putting the pressure on opposing goaltenders. He shot the puck on goal 368 times in 82 games, which is an average of 4.4 shots per game.
Amazingly, Jagr is still lacing up the skates and playing at the age of 47 in his home country, the Czech Republic for HC Kladno, a team recently promoted to the Czech Extraliga. On April 19, he scored four goals in a 4-2 win to help push his team back into the highest league in the country.
It would not be out of the realm of possibility to see Jagr still playing past the age of 50. He has already logged well over half of his life in the game and he still seems to be enjoying it. When he calls it quits, the hockey world will celebrate “The Ageless Wonder”.