Blueshirts By the Numbers: Number 19: Jean Ratelle

If not for Blueshirt legend Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle might never have been a Ranger. It was on Gilbert's suggestion that the Rangers signed his long time friend and teammate as a free agent, and after three spectacular seasons with the Rangers OHA team in Guelph, Ratelle debuted on Broadway near the end of the 1960-61 season.

Jean bounced back and forth between the AHL and the parent club his first few seasons, but when forward Phil Goyette was injured in 1964-65, Ratelle finally got his opportunity to play full-time in New York. Although initially placed on the third line, when Jean was again reunited with old friend Gilbert, he proceeded to record a 35-point season. In 1965-66, he scored 21 goals, the first of 14 seasons accomplishing that feat.

In 1971-72, Ratelle became the first Ranger to eclipse the 100 point mark, which he did by putting up an amazing 46 goals and 63 assists, as the centerpiece of the "Goal-A-Game" line with Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert.  It should be noted that Ratelle broke his ankle and missed the last 16 games of the season that year, although he did return for the Finals against the Bruins.

Ratelle's achievements with the Rangers are truly too numerous to list, but some of the highlights are: four all-star appearances, two Rangers team MVP awards, and third all-time on the Rangers scoring list.

Ratelle also represented Canada in the 1972 "Summit Series" against the Soviets.

Ratelle was traded along with Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to the hated Bruins in 1975 for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais.  It's a trade many old time Ranger fans have never gotten over, calling it one of the worst trades in the franchise's history.

Ratelle was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.

Sorry for the lack of picture, I couldn't find one I was authorized to use.

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