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A humorous look back at some of the players that have most disappointed and infuriated Ranger fans.
I was inspired by Michael Rappaport's great series Rangers by the Numbers to create my own look at New York Rangers by the numbers, but mine is going to be a little bit different. The Rangers that are going to be on my list are Rangers that gave us all headaches. These are players that, for the most part, are not remembered fondly for their time playing in New York. Though the players on this list are on it for a plethora of different reasons they all, one way or another, were disappointing as New York Rangers.
Most of these players are players who have played for the Rangers in recent years. This is because I did not feel like speaking ill of players who have passed on and because I felt more comfortable about writing about players I have actually seen play. There will be a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part the players on this list will still be fresh in our collective memories. Without further ado, I present to you Disappointing Rangers by the Numbers, numbers 1 through 10.
#1 - Nobody.
Thirty-eight New York Rangers have worn number one, all of them were goalies. The last Ranger to wear number one was Rangers all-time great Ed Giacomin.
# 2 - Jocelyn Guevremont (Defenseman, 1979)
I know absolutely nothing about Jocelyn Guevremont or what he did on the ice. He played for the Rangers six years before I was brought kicking and screaming into this cruel, cold world. What I can say about him is that he had 7 points in 20 games played as a Ranger and almost certainly confused at least a dozen kids on how to spell the word "government". For that alone, he makes the list.
# 3 - Tom Poti (Defenseman, 2002-2006)
Poti became a Ranger on March 19, 2002 when the Rangers dealt away Mike York and a fourth round pick for Poti and Rem Murray. Poti had a strong first full season with the Rangers, scoring 11 goals and 48 points from the Rangers blueline but it was all downhill from there. Poti had injury problems the next year and finished the next season with only 24 points. In his final year as a Ranger he was invisible in the playoffs and scored just 23 points in the regular season. Poti, like many Rangers who will appear on this list, suffered from high (perhaps unreasonable) expectations about his play and when he failed to live up to them, the Garden Faithful turned on him like they have so many others. What I most remember about Poti is all the times that Sam Rosen talked about his special aluminum sticks that they no longer made and how I would always hope that is precious sticks would break just so he could feel as disappointed as I was in his play.
Dishonorable Mention: Michal Rozsival
# 4 - Aaron Ward (Defenseman, 2006-2007)
Ward spent less than a full season with the Rangers and was dealt to the Bruins in exchange for Paul Mara on February 27, 2007. Ward, along with Matt Cullen, came to the Rangers in the free agency market after contributing to the Hurricanes winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. Ward's performance on the ice doesn't put him on this list, but rumors of tension between him and team captain Jaromir Jagr sent Ward packing. Ward is a peculiar player to put on this list, but he makes the list because no matter what problems he may have had with Jagr, it wasn't a great idea to make enemies with the team's captain.
# 5 - Stephane Quintal (Defenseman, 1999-2000)
Stephane Quintal played 75 games as a New York Rangers and like so many before him, failed to live up to expectations. The Rangers signed Quintal to a big contract in an effort to solidify the team's blueline. After an underwhelming first year Quintal rapidly drew the ire of fans and made it known to New York reporters that he wished he was back in Montreal. Before the start of his second year as a Ranger the team waived him and was prepared to bury the French-Canadian defenseman in the minors where he would have been the highest-paid minor hockey league player at that time (sound familiar?). The Chicago Blackhawks claimed Quintal off of the waiver wire and Quintal and the remaining four years of his contract were off of the books.
# 6 - Wade Redden (Defenseman, 2008-present) and Darius Kasparaitis (Defenseman, 2002-2007)
Wade Redden was signed by the Rangers in the 2008 offseason to a six-year, $39 million contract. I won't launch into Redden too much because his time with the Rangers is still very fresh in our minds. After two underwhelming years with the Rangers, Redden has become known as one of the worst free-agent signings in recent memory. The team had no choice but to bury him and his contract in the minors before the start of the 2010-2011 and start counting the days until the 2014 offseason when Redden's contract expires.
Six years before Redden was a Ranger the team signed Darius Kasparaitis to a six-year, $25.5 million contract. Rumors led people to believe that Eric Lindros had encouraged the team to bring the infamous Kasparitis to New York. Kaspar was 29 when he joined the Rangers and rapidly looked like a dinosaur as the game changed and the players around him became bigger, stronger, and faster. In the 2006-2007 season Kaspairitis saw Brendan Shanahan get his alternate captaincy and was waived and sent down to the minors in late January. If not for the signing of Wade Redden, Kasparaitis would almost certainly be the most frustrating defenseman that the Rangers have added through free agency in recent memory. I simply couldn't not put him on the list. Though if I had to pick one over the other, it would have to be Redden.
# 7 - Nobody.
Only five Rangers have ever worn number seven, the great Rod Gilbert is fittingly the last Ranger to wear it.
# 8 - Marek Malik (Defenseman, 2005-2008).
The 6'6" Malik was a New York Ranger for three years and was on the top pair alongside fellow Czech Michal Rozsival for much of that time. What was most frustrating about Malik on the ice was his painful lack of speed and how he seemed incapable of playing physical hockey, despite his size. Malik is perhaps best remembered for his miraculous shootout goal against Olaf Kolzig to end the longest shootout in NHL history. What earns Malik a spot on this list, other than his sluggish play and poor decisions with the puck is how his time as a Ranger ended. Malik was completely unprofessional when he learned that he was a healthy scratch for the Rangers and refused to shake head coach Tom Renney's hand after a Rangers victory. The disagreement between Renney and Malik along with Malik's inability to stay healthy in the final year of his contract spelled the end of Malik's time with the Rangers.
# 9 -Pavel Bure (Right Wing, 2002-2003)
Through no fault of his own, Pavel Bure has made it onto my list because of his injury problems. The Russian Rocket scored 50 points (31 of them were goals) in the 51 games he played as a New York Ranger. Bure was brought to the Rangers in a blockbuster deal along with Florida's second round pick of 2002 (Lee Falardeau) in exchange for Igor Ulanov, Filip Novak, the Rangers first round pick of 2002, second round pick of 2002, and the Rangers fourth round pick of 2003. Bure never fully recovered from a torn meniscus in his left knee, an injury he received on December 6, 2002 in a knee-on-knee collision which caused him to play only 39 games in his first full campaign with the Rangers. The lingering effects of his knee injury made him miss all of the 2003-2004 season even after enduring two knee surgeries. If Bure had managed to stay healthy he would almost certainly be remembered more fondly by Rangers fans. Though his time with the Rangers was brief, he was brilliant playing on Broadway. One can't help but wonder how things might have been different if he didn't have his career cut short by the knee of Buffalo's Curtis Brown.
# 10: Ron Duguay (as a broadcaster) (2007-present)
Duguay looks more like Bon Jovi than a hockey player. I can't fault him for his play as a hockey player. Duguay was an outstanding New York Ranger. That being said, I couldn't really find anyone for number ten and wanted to put someone here. I find his wardrobe to be far too flashy for a man of his age and I disapprove of how many buttons he leaves unbuttoned on his dress shirts. That's right, I said it.
Those are my Rangers numbers 1-10, who would you put up there instead? Perhaps some of the elder statesmen of Blueshirt Banter can suggest more appropriate players than some of the ones that I chose (Guevremont stays on the list no matter what though, screw that guy). Have at it in the comments guys and gals. Let's go Rangers.