Last year Ranger greats Harry Howell and Andy Bathgate had their long overdue numbers retired. Having attended the ceremony I took a great interest in these two Rangers. Having never seen either play, I started to research their careers. After scouring the interwebs and talking to some elder Rangers fans I started to realize something: Andy Bathgate reminds me a lot of Marian Gaborik today. Bathgate's Hart winning season in 1958-59 especially reminded me of Gaborik's season today.
In 1959 the NHL awarded Andy Bathgate the Hart Trophy. It was the only one he won in his career, and won it on a mediocre Rangers team. They missed the playoffs in a 6 team league (in a time where you had a 2/3 shot of making the playoffs) and New York hadn't hoisted the cup since 1940. Bathgate was a superstar in the league and was 3rd in the league in scoring with 88 points that year. More surprising, he had 40 of the Rangers 201 goals that year. That is 1 out of every 5 Rangers goal or 20% of the team's goals. He was the team. Hence the Hart Trophy win!
Flash forward 51 years. Marian Gaborik is second in the league in points with 49 through 37 games of the Rangers season, and leads the league in goals with 26 so far. Here's the surprising stat: Marian Gaborik has scored 25.2% of the Rangers 103 goals. Hmm seems like a superstar on a mediocre Rangers team (tied for 8th in the Eastern Conference). If Gaborik continues his pace for the rest of the season (that is a pretty big if and I realize that) he will have 55 goals and 109 points on a team that scores 228 goals for the season. That's a Rangers record for goals in a season, and a team carrying performance if this team makes the playoffs.
Pretty close to what Bathgate did in '59 in my humblest opinions. The two also have the distinctions of being number 9 (Bathgate) and 10 (Gaborik). Just trowing that out there. So basically, no matter if this team makes or misses the playoffs Marian Gaborik deserves the Hart Trophy. Even though Ranger fans already knew how awesome he is!
And for the Christmas spirit let's add a poll! Happy Holidays Rangers fans!