Eastern Conference foes, the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers have both been around a long time. In fact, the two teams have met 611 times with the Maple Leafs holding the edge – a record of 286-221-95-9, or a .553 point percentage.
While it’s hard to call these two teams rivals nowadays, the two teams can be connected through their trade history over the years. That being said, the Maple Leafs and Rangers haven’t engaged in a deal since early in 2011 – one we’ll get to as we take a closer look at the five most recent trades between these two franchises.
Mediocrity for John Mitchell
It was back on Feb. 28, 2011, when the Rangers and Maple Leafs last signed off on a trade with each other. The Leafs traded forward John Mitchell to the Rangers for a 2012 seventh-round pick.
Mitchell had debuted with the Maple Leafs in 2008-09 as a 24-year-old and played in 159 regular season games for the team over parts of three seasons, but the team didn’t have space for him as they headed in a different direction. With that, they moved him to the Big Apple where he spent just one season – or 63 games – collecting 16 points in the process.
From there, he signed as a free agent with the Colorado Avalanche, spending five seasons with them. He last played in the NHL in 2016-17 with the Avs.
The Maple Leafs used the pick – 209th overall – to take Viktor Lööv. He debuted with the Leafs in 2015-16 and played just four games during the regular season – collecting two assists – before Toronto traded him on Feb. 8, 2018, to the New Jersey Devils. Lööv signed with Jokerit Helsinki of the KHL as a free agent shortly after the deal.
Goodbye Saint Nik
Before that, it was March 4, 2009, when the Maple Leafs decided to move Nik Antropov to the Rangers in exchange for a 2009 second-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2010.
As a Leaf, Antropov played 509 regular season games and collected 291 points over that span. He still ranks 39th on the franchise’s all-time points list. However, like Mitchell, Antropov only stayed in New York for a short stint with the Rangers following the trade. He played just 18 games with the Rangers in 2008-09, collecting 13 points to go along with his three in their seven playoff games, before signing as a free agent in Atlanta following the season.
The Maple Leafs got themselves Kenny Ryan at 50th overall in 2009 and that was it. Ryan has since floated around the AHL and ECHL without having made an appearance at the NHL level. He played the 2017-18 season with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, collecting 10 points in just nine games.
The Younger Bathgate
Just under a year before the Antropov deal, the Maple Leafs and Rangers were at the trade table again. This time working with some lesser pieces. The Maple Leafs acquired Ryan Hollweg from the Rangers that day for a 2009 fifth-round pick that ended up being 150th overall.
Hollweg would play just 25 games for the Leafs in 2008-09, notching two assists before he signed as a free agent with the Coyotes in Sept. 28, 2009.
As for the pick, the Rangers eventually traded it to the Penguins (who originally owned the selection) and they took Andy Bathgate, grandson of former NHLer Andy Bathgate) with the pick. Unlike the elder, the younger Bathgate never made the jump to the NHL and last played with the SPHL’s Birmingham Bulls in 2017-18.
Bringing Brian Leetch to Toronto
Before that, you have to go all the way back to March 3, 2004. It was then that the Maple Leafs acquired long-time Ranger Brian Leetch and a conditional pick in exchange for Jarkko Immonen, Maxim Kondratiev, a first-round pick in 2004 and a second-round pick in 2005.
Leetch played just 15 games to close out the year with the Maple Leafs, tallying two goals and 15 points over that span. He added eight assists in 13 postseason games for Toronto before signing as a free agent in Boston for the following year.
The pick ended up being the 113th overall selection in 2004, when the Leafs took Roman Kukumberg. Kukumberg came to North America in 2005-06 and played for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies for 54 games before he jumped back overseas where he’s played in a number of leagues ever since.
Immonen played just 20 games for the Rangers from 2005 to 2007 and had eight points to show for it. Kondratiev played 29 games for the Rangers and had a goal and two assists, but he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in January 2006. So that left the Rangers with the two picks.
The 2004 first-rounder was shipped to Calgary who used it to take Kris Chucko with the 24th overall selection, while the Rangers would take Michael Sauer with the 40th overall pick in 2005.
Sauer played 98 games for the Rangers over parts of three seasons and another five playoff games while racking up a total of 19 points – one of which came in those playoff games.
Landing the Late Karpovtsev
Finally, back on Oct. 14, 1998, the Maple Leafs landed a solid shutdown defenceman in Alexander Karpovtsev along with a fourth-round pick in 1999 for Mathieu Schneider.
Karpovtsev played just two seasons with the Leafs, but managed 44 points in 125 regular season games. He also suited up for 25 postseason games with the Maple Leafs and had another seven points for the blue and white. After leaving the NHL in 2005-06, Karpovtsev became an assistant coach with the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and passed away in the fatal plane crash on Sept. 7, 2011.
He was one of the first Russians to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup as a member of the 1994 Rangers team.
As for the pick, the Maple Leafs landed Mirko Murovic with the 108th overall selection in 1999, but after he finished in the QMJHL, he joined the Swiss-A league and played there until 2011-12. He never saw the NHL.
Schneider played 155 games for the Rangers over two seasons and tallied 64 points. But on Aug. 14, 2000, he signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Kings and that was all the Rangers got out of him.
Now, looking back on these moves, did any of them stand out to you? Were there any clear winners or losers? Be sure to have your say by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below, or tune in next time as we’ll look at the five most recent deals between the Maple Leafs and their divisional rival Ottawa Senators.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.