New York Rangers

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins


Read Time: 3 minutes

The New York Rangers, nicknamed the “Broadway Blueshirts,” are one of the Original Six teams that played in the NHL before league expansion in 1967. New York has four Stanley Cup championships in franchise history and holds the distinction of being the first United States-based team to win it in 1928.

Lester Patrick was the Rangers’ first head coach, leading them to two Stanley Cups in 1928 and 1933. Captained by Bill Cook, powered by Frank Boucher and backed by goaltenders Lorne Chabot, Joe Miller and playing-coach Lester Patrick, New York topped the Montreal Maroons in five games in ’28. Cook became the first player to score a Cup-winning overtime goal in ’33 and rookie goalie Andy Aitkenhead recorded a shutout as the Rangers downed Toronto in four games in ’33.

Coached by Boucher and lifted by three overtime wins including Bryan Hextall’s OT goal in Game 6, the Rangers won a third Cup in 1940 but did not win another Cup for 54 years. They lost three Stanley Cup Finals during the title drought, 1950 to Detroit, 1972 to Boston and 1979 to Montreal, but broke their “curse” in 1994. Led by captain Mike Messier, Conn Smythe winner Brian Leetch and goalie Mike Richter, New York defeated Vancouver in seven games, hoisting the Cup at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers have appeared in just one Stanley Cup Finals since that victory, falling in five games to the Los Angeles Kings. Henrik Lundqvist, arguably the best goalie in team history, has won 520 games including playoffs and maintained a .920 save percentage. Hockey Hall of Famers who played or coached for the Rangers include Leetch, Messier, Bobby Hull, Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, Pat LaFontaine and Eric Lindros.

Gretzky scored 57 goals and assisted on 192 more in three years with New York, his last three as an NHL player. Gretzky led the Rangers to the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Flyers in five games. Future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr’s four-year Rangers stint included a Ted Lindsay Award-winning campaign in 2005-06, when Jagr set team records for single-season goals (54), points (123), power-play goals (24), shots on goal (368) and assists by a right wing (69).

David Quinn has coached the Rangers since 2018, while Jeff Gorton has been the team’s general manager since 2015. The Rangers are owned by The Madison Square Garden company, chaired by James Dolan.

New York compiled a 37-28-5 record in the 2019-20 season, seventh in the Metropolitan Division, before being swept in the NHL Playoffs Qualifying Round by the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers featured the NHL’s third-best point-getter in Artemi Panarin, fifth-best goal-scorer Mika Zibanejad and 41 assist man Ryan Strome, all under 30 years old. Alexander Georgiev won 17 games and saved 1,063 shots in net, splitting time with Lundqvist and Igor Shesterkin. Defenseman Jacob Trouba logged a team-leading 1,580 minutes, an average ice time of 22:34.

Lottery luck smiled on the Rangers in August 2020, as they secured the first pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and the right to draft Quebec phenom Alexis Lafrenière. The Blueshirts will select first for the first time since 1965, when they drafted Andre Veilleux who never played professional hockey.

The Rangers have won the fifth-most games in NHL history, with 2,856 regular season victories and 244 playoff triumphs. Brian Leetch holds the team record for assists with 741, while Rod Gilbert has scored the most goals (406) and notched the most points (1021). Lunqvist is the record holder in nearly every goaltending category except goals against average, which Chabot leads at 1.63.