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The second installment of a look at some of the most disappointing, frustrating, and happily forgotten New York Rangers in recent memory.
Welcome to the second installment of Disappointing Rangers by the Numbers numbers 11 through 20. It was interesting to see the feedback on the first installment of the series and learn about some of the worst trades, draft picks, and free agent signings from before my time. I want to go out of my way to thank those who commented on numbers 1-10 and shared their wisdom and perspectives with us, I am hoping that we have some healthy debate and suggestions about who should be on the rest of the list.
Again, I want to make sure that everyone understands that, for the most part, I am writing about players that have played for the team recently and that I have personally seen playing because I feel most comfortable talking and writing about those players. I don't pretend to know as much as some of you guys who have been Ranger fans for over thirty years and I love your feedback and suggestions because it helps us take a look back at some interesting Rangers history. Without further ado here are the most disappointing Rangers numbers eleven through 20.
# 11 - Bobby Carpenter (Center, 1987)
On January 1st, 1987 the New York Rangers traded Bob Crawford, Kelly Miller, and Mike Ridley and received Bobby Carpenter and the Capitals 1989 second round pick (Jason Prosofsky). The Rangers were interested in Carpenter because he had scored 53 goals two years prior. Carpenter played just 28 games with the Rangers and scored only two goals as a Blueshirt. Carpenter was dealt to the Kings along with Tom Laidlaw for Jeff Crossman, Marcel Dionne, and a third round pick. What makes this trade so painful is that Kelly Miller and Mike Ridley went on to have solid careers and were key players for the Capitals for many years.
# 12 - Olli Jokinen, (Center, 2010)
Jokinen was dealt to the Rangers, along with Brandon Prust, in exchange for Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins. The Joker played just 26 games for the Rangers, scoring4 goals and 11 assists in that time, but no one remembers any of that. All Ranger fans can remember about Olli Jokinen, other than his startling lack of eyebrows, was what he failed to do on April 11th, 2010.
Is it unfair to put Jokinen on the list for failing to score in a shootout? Maybe, but I think most of us expected that a player of Jokinen's caliber should have been able to deliver a clutch goal in a shootout, especially against Brian Boucher.
Dishonorable Mention: Ales Kotalik
#13 - Nikolai Zherdev (Right Wing, 2008-2009)
In Nik Zherdev's one year as a Ranger he was tied as the team leader in points, along with Scott Gomez, with 58 points. The Rangers were just entering the "Jagr-less Era" and were starved for offense so the team traded Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman for Zherdev and Dan Fritsche. A fifty-eight point year wasn't all that bad and a lot of Ranger fans were really excited about Zherdev's potential, even with his tendency to take nights off here and there. But we never got to see what might have been because the Rangers and Zherdev couldn't agree to terms on a contract to keep the restricted free agent in New York. After filing for arbitration, Zherdev was awarded $3.9 million which was simply too high for Slats considering he had the contracts of Redden, Drury, and Gomez to work around and he decided to let Zherdev go. Tyutin has gone on to have a very solid career in Columbus, being one of the few bright spots of the organization over the last four years. Zherdev, despite all of his skill, was a disappointment as a Ranger because of what he cost the team and what might have been.
#14 - Mike Allison (Center, 1980-1986)
Allison was the 35th overall pick in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft and burst into the Rangers lineup with a 64 point rookie season. Unfortunately Allison was never able to repeat his strong rookie campaign as a Ranger as he was troubled with a series of knee injuries until Phil Esposito dealt him for Walt Poddubny in August, 1986. Poddubny was brilliant as a Ranger for two years and Mike Allison is just one more player that we find ourselves asking about how good he could have been if he had stayed healthy.
#15 - Nobody.
No Ranger who has worn the number fifteen really jumps out at me as a disappointment.
#16 - Bobby Holik (Center, 2002-2004)
In the summer of 2002 the Rangers signed Bobby Holik away from the rival New Jersey Devils for a 5-year, $45 million deal and Devils fans have been laughing about it ever since. Holik was lauded as one of the best two-way centers in the game and a cornerstone of the Devils success in the 10 seasons that we wore red and black. In his time with the Rangers Bobby Holik scored 91 points in 146 games and the Rangers missed the playoffs both years the $9 million man was there. Obviously, it is unfair to blame Holik for the Rangers missing the playoffs, but for $9 million a year Ranger fans were probably hoping for a little bit more out of Holik. To be fair, in Holik's second and last year as a Ranger, he was productive offensively and he was never going to be a player that scored 80 or 90 points. That being said, the Holik signing was awful and after the 2004-2005 lockout, the Rangers bought out the rest of his contract. Holik would have been paid $6.726 million because of the contract rollback mandated by the NHL's new CBA but it was still just too damn much, even for Glen Sather.
"In the new world we live in, Bobby was just paid too much." -Glen Sather
Alarmingly, that statement suggests that his contract was totally okay in the "old world" that we lived in.
#17 - Kevin Stevens (Left Wing, 1997-2000)
The Rangers dealt Luc Robitaille, who underachieved as a Ranger for two seasons, for Kevin Stevens in the 1997 offseason. Neil Smith was hoping that Kevin Stevens would return to the player he was for the first half of the 1990s, a dominant power forward that played for the Penguins. Robitaille eventually did return to his hall-of-fame form and during his second year back with the Kings he scored 39 goals. Stevens, however, never broke 50 points as a New York Ranger and is perhaps best remembered for what he did off the ice. In late January of 2000, after a game against the Blues, Stevens was arrested in a motel for possession of crack cocaine and having a prostitute with him. It really goes without saying that Kevin Stevens was disappointing as a Ranger.
#18 - Adam Hall (Right Wing, 2006-2007)
What? Adam Hall, Really? Adam Hall became a Ranger on July 19th, 2006 in exchange for Dominic Moore and after 49 games as a Ranger he was traded to the Minnesota Wild for Pascal Dupuis. Hall makes the list because for a few reasons; one- there haven't been a lot of disappointments who wore #18, two- he was a -13 as a Ranger and was supposed to be an upgrade from Dominic Moore, and finally I remember hearing that it was discovered that he couldn't skate backwards a few years into his NHL career. Where did I hear this you ask? I remember it being one of the things that Sam and Joe talked about to fill dead air during a stoppage I don't know how many years ago. I can barely remember the birthdates of all of my brothers but for some reason whenever I hear the name "Adam Hall" I have the Pavlovian response of saying/thinking, "that dude couldn't skate backwards."
#19 - Scotty Gomez (Center, 2007-2009)
On the first day of the 2007 free agency market the Rangers signed Chris Drury and Scott Gomez to try and fix the organizations lack of strength and depth at the center position. Gomez was signed to a seven-year, $51.5 million dollar deal (yikes). Gomez was a star for the New Jersey Devils for five years prior to becoming a Ranger and won two Stanley Cups as a Devil but in his two years with the New York Rangers Gomez scored only 32 goals and 96 assists in 158 games. His contract, to this day, remains one of the worst the league has ever known. Gomez was frustrating beyond belief as a Ranger but, in a bizarre twist of fate, his miserable play brought the Rangers Ryan McDonagh. On June 30th, 2009 the Rangers traded Tom Pyatt, Michael Busto, and Scott Gomez to the Habs for Chris Higgins, Doug Janik, Pavel Valentenko, and Ryan McDonagh. The curse of Gomez was passed onto the Habs fans who could only laugh pitifully to themselves when Gomez scored for the first time in 98 games against the Islanders in February of 2011 while Ranger fans were absolutely buzzing about the emergence of Ryan McDonagh as one of the best young defenseman in the league.
#20 - Luc Robitaille (Left Wing, 1995-1997)
That's right. I put a Hall of Fame player on the list. Luc Robitalle was traded to the Rangers from the Penguins (along with Ulf Samuelsson) for Petr Nedved and Sergei Zubov. Sergei #@!%ing Zubov. Robitaille wasn't awful as a Ranger; he scored 47 goals in 146 games and had 69 points in the 1995-1996 season. That being said, he simply didn't play like Luc Robitaille. Not counting the abbreviated 1994-1995 season, Robitaille scored at least 40 goals every year of his career before he became a Ranger. During Robitaille's disappointing two years as a Ranger Petr Nedved scored 99 points and 71 points in his two year-stay with the Penguins and Sergei Zubov went on to be one of the most productive offensive defenseman for the next eleven years with the Penguins and Dallas Stars. The Robitaille trade was a desperate attempt to land the Rangers another cup and surround Mark Messier with some real talent, instead the Rangers traded away one of the best offensive defenseman to ever play the game and disappointed in the playoffs the two years Robitaille was a Ranger and then went on to miss the postseason for the next seven seasons.
Dishonorable Mention: Jozef Balej
Have at it in the comments guys and gals. Let's go Rangers.