Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
In 86 years of New York Rangers hockey, nearly 1,000 players have worn the red, white, and blue sweaters at Madison Square Garden. In a new series here on Blueshirt Banter, we will look at the best Rangers to play for the organization based on their jersey number. Without further ado, here is Part Three of this series, as we look at the best players who have worn numbers 21-30 for the Rangers.
#21 – Camille Henry (Left Wing, 1953-55; 1956-65; 1967-68)
Perhaps one of the most underrated and underappreciated Blueshirts in team history, Camille Henry was one of the most productive scorers the Rangers have had in their 86 years of existence. After dominating the junior ranks with the Quebec Citadels, Henry impressed right away in New York, scoring 24 goals during the 1953-54 season en route to winning the Calder Trophy. After struggling to remain with the big club over the next two years, Henry stuck with the team in the ’56-’57 season and never looked back. During his 12 seasons as a Ranger, Camille scored at least 20 goals eight times, including a career-high 37 goals in the 1962-63 campaign. A three-time all-star with the Blueshirts, Henry’s 256 goals in New York are the sixth most in team history.
Honorable mentions: Pete Stemkowski, Sergei Zubov
#22 – Mike Gartner (Right Wing, 1989-94)
From the day he arrived at MSG via a trade with the Minnesota North Stars (that’s right, not the Wild), Mike Gartner was as productive of a goal scorer as the Blueshirts have had. The Hall of Famer, who scored 173 of his 708 career goals on Broadway, led the Rangers in goals in each of three full seasons with the team, posting 49, 40, and 45, respectively. Gartner represented the Rangers at the 1993 All-Star Game, and scored four goals to be named the game’s MVP. Gartner reached both the 500-goal and 600-goal milestones with the Rangers, but was traded at the 1994 trade deadline to the Maple Leafs for Glenn Anderson. Gartner’s 0.54 goals per game are the third most in Rangers history.
Honorable mentions: Nick Fotiu
#23 – Jeff Beukeboom (Defenseman, 1991-99)
A physical defenseman who made his name delivering bone-jarring hits against the boards, Jeff Beukeboom was a reliable presence on the Rangers blueline for eight seasons. "Beuk" was paired with Brian Leetch for the duration of his time in the Big Apple, and played the role of the stay-at-home defenseman admirably. The 6-5, 230 pound Beukeboom proved his worth in the 1994 playoffs while helping the Rangers win the Cup. The Lindsay, Ontario native’s career was cut short due to a concussion he suffered during the 1998-99 season. Jeff is second on the Rangers’ all-time penalty minutes list with 1,157.
Honorable mentions: Ed Hospodar
#24 – Ryan Callahan (Right Wing, 2006-present)
The 5-11 right wing is the embodiment of the current Rangers squad. Callahan was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 Draft. Ironically, the pick the Rangers used to acquire the Rochester, New York native was acquired in a trade with the San Jose Sharks for the negotiating rights to Mark Messier. "Cally" has become one of John Tortorella’s favorites due to his ability to excel in every aspect of the game. The 27-year-old became the 26th captain in franchise history in September of 2011, and responded by establishing career highs in 2011-12 in goals (29), assists (25), and points (54).
Honorable mentions: Niklas Sundstrom
#25 – John Ogrodnick (Left Wing, 1987-92)
When the Rangers acquired John Ogrodnick from the Quebec Nordiques on the eve of the 1987-88 season, they hoped to get the dominant scorer that had been a member of the Detroit Red Wings for the better part of the 1980’s. In Ogrodnick’s five seasons as a Blueshirt, he was one of the team’s most productive offensive forces. John scored at least thirty goals in two years in New York. His most productive year came in the 1989-90 season, when he led the Blueshirts with 43 goals and 74 points, which was good enough to be named team MVP.
Honorable mentions: Alexander Karpovtsev, Petr Prucha
#26 – Dave Maloney (Defenseman, 1974-84)
The Rangers’ first round pick in the 1974 Draft, Dave Maloney quickly became one of the best defensemen on the Blueshirts blueline. In Maloney’s first full season, 1976-77, the blueliner was selected as the Rangers’ MVP. At the start of the 1978-79 season, Maloney became the youngest Ranger to be selected as the team’s captain. A threat on both sides of the puck, Maloney led the Rangers in penalty minutes on three separate occasions. The Lindsay, Ontario native is fourth on the Rangers’ all-time penalty minutes list, and eight in points for a defenseman in Rangers history.
Honorable mentions: Joey Kocur
#27 – Alexei Kovalev (Right Wing, 1992-99; 2003-04)
Although he might not have realized his full potential in New York, Alexei Kovalev was one of the most skilled players to ever wear a Ranger uniform. The Togliatti, Russia native dazzled fans with his slick hands and quick wrist shot. Kovalev, who spent most of his first tour of duty in New York playing with Mark Messier and Adam Graves, scored at least twenty goals in four years with the Blueshirts. Kovalev was one of the first four Russians to have his name on the Stanley Cup.
Honorable mentions: Ted Irvine, Mike Rogers
#28 – Tomas Sandstrom (Right Wing, 1984-90)
Since he arrived in New York as a 20-year-old rookie, Tomas Sandstrom lit the lamp for the Rangers on a consistent basis. Sandstrom registered 29 goals and 29 assists in his first season, and made the NHL’s All-Rookie Team. The Fagersta, Sweden native scored at least 25 goals in each of his five seasons with the Rangers, including 40 goals in the 1986-87 season. After posting 88 points in the 1988-89 season, and 39 points at the all-star break in 1989-90, Sandstrom was traded along with Tony Granato to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for center Bernie Nicholls.
Honorable mentions: Tie Domi, Steve Larmer
#29 – Reijo Ruotsalainen (Defenseman, 1981-86)
When Reijo Ruotsalainen joined the Rangers in 1981, he became the first Finnish native to play for the Broadway Blueshirts. In his five seasons with New York, "Rexi" was one of the best two-way defensemen the team has ever had in its illustrious history. Ruotsalainen was more than responsible in his own end, posting at least a plus-17 in four of his five seasons. However, in the one year he had a minus-27 plus minus rating, the Oulu, Finland native led the team in scoring with 73 points (28 goals, 45 assists). An all-star with the Blueshirts in 1985-86, Ruotsalainen’s 316 points are the sixth most by a Ranger blueliner.
#30 – Henrik Lundqvist (Goaltender, 2005-present)
In seven seasons with the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist has developed into one of the best goaltenders in franchise history. The Are, Sweden native was drafted by the Blueshirts in the seventh round of the 2000 Draft, and made his debut in New York during the 2005-06 season. Although he began his rookie year as the backup, "King Henrik" eventually became the number one goalie and hasn’t looked back. Lundqvist has won at least thirty games in each of his first seven seasons, an NHL record. He has also been named the team’s MVP in six consecutive seasons, which is a franchise record. Lundqvist’s best personal year came in 2011-12, when the 30-year-old won the Vezina Trophy and backstopped the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in fifteen years. Henrik’s 252 regular season wins are third in Rangers history, trailing only Mike Richter (301) and Eddie Giacomin (266), and his 43 shutouts are second, only trailing Giacomin’s 49.
Honorable mentions: Gilles Villemure, Glenn Healy