New York Rangers: Top 10 Power-Play Snipers in New York Rangers History

Jared Steckler@JaySteckContributor IISeptember 14, 2012

New York Rangers: Top 10 Power-Play Snipers in New York Rangers History

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    If New York Rangers fans learned anything from the 2011-12 season, it’s that the Rangers power play is still a work in progress.

    On second thought, that would be giving the numbingly numerous failed combinations and incapable drivel of a power-play far too much credit.  Allow me to backtrack.

    The New York Rangers’ power play could not buy a goal last season.

    The Blueshirts finished the season ranked 23rd in the NHL in power-play percentage (15.7 percent) and 20th in power-play goals (44).

    The results were no fluke.  Among 30 NHL teams, New York’s 280 power-play opportunities were the league’s 10th highest total.  

    In the end, all the statistics do are present a number of relevant questions.  

    Despite the unit’s struggles, the Rangers did manage to capture the top seed in the Eastern Conference—how important could the success of the Rangers’ special teams really be?

    For starters, Vic Hadfield led the 1971-72 Rangers in power-play goals with 23.  In 1993-94, the Rangers' special teams were powered by Adam Graves’ 20 power-play goals. 

    For whatever it’s worth, both of those teams made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals.

    Paint the picture in any manner you deem appropriate, but the 2011-12 Rangers played a lot of hockey with a man-advantage and their goal conversion rate leaves much to be desired.

    Blame it on the players.  Blame it on the scheme.

    The fact of the matter is that if the 2012-13 Rangers want to increase the production of their power-play units, it will take more than the 13 goals they got out of last season’s leader Ryan Callahan.

    So feel free to step right up Blueshirts.  With a special year, perhaps you can join the ranks of the top 10 power-play snipers in New York Rangers history.

Mark Messier

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    They call Mark Messier “the Captain,” and there may be no nickname more suitable for any player in sports.

    Messier’s playoff guarantee will forever be firmly implanted in the hearts and minds of the Rangers faithful—it was as true a testament to his leadership qualities if there ever was one—but it certainly won’t be his only legacy.

    Throughout his Rangers years, Messier helped to command the team’s power-play unit with the typical poise and grace that fans came to expect of hockey’s second career leader in points.

    The Captain produced 72 power-play goals over the course of his storied Rangers career—good enough for seventh on the franchise’s all time list and more than sufficient for a spot on the list of the Rangers' top-10 power-play snipers.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics 

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 179
    • Power-Play Assists (Career): 401
    • Power-Play Goals On-Ice For (Rangers): 342

Steve Vickers

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    Steve Vickers scored 246 goals as a member of the Blueshirts, and an impressive 69 of those came on the power play.

    He ranks ninth on the franchise’s all time list in power-play goals on-ice for a hard-fought 261 of them.

    Vickers is one of the few athletes to spend his entire career with one franchise and is accordingly well-remembered by the Garden faithful.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics 

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 69
    • Power-Play Goals On-Ice For (Rangers): 261

Jaromir Jagr

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    What do you get when you combine unrivaled strength, breakaway speed, an uncanny vision of the ice and the NHL’s quickest hands together with a man-advantage?

    A true power-play sniper.

    During his relatively brief Rangers tenure, Jaromir Jagr provided New York with exactly the kind of spark that they sorely needed.

    Jagr holds the Rangers single-season record for power-play goals, finding the back of the net 24 times during the 2005-06 season.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics 

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 189
    • Power-Play Assists (Career): 357
    • Power-Play Goals On-Ice For (2005-06/NYR): 66

Brian Leetch

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    Brian Leetch is one of the greatest players to ever don a Rangers sweater.

    Scratch that.  Leetch is, quite simply, one of the best to ever lace up his skates at all.

    To say that “Number Two” had a long and illustrious hockey career would be a vast understatement.  

    Over the course of his 18-year Hall of Fame career, the defenseman accumulated 1,205 points.

    If you take a look at Leetch’s trophy shelf, you will find a Calder Trophy for being named Rookie of the Year, a Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to the 1993-94 Stanley Cup MVP and two Norris Trophy awards for being named the league’s best defenseman.

    Not too shabby.

    Leetch’s jersey number was retired and lifted up to the Madison Square Garden rafters in 2008.  During the ceremony, Mark Messier referred to Leetch as the single “greatest” Ranger of all time.

    Brian Leetch ranks near the top of the Rangers' record book in almost every offensive category, and his power-play aptitude is a big reason why.

    In New York’s Stanley Cup winning 1993-94 season alone, the defenseman recorded 17 power-play goals.  He also threw in four postseason power-play goals that year for good measure.

    With the man-advantage, Leetch ranks second on the franchise’s all-time goalscoring list with 106.

    Notable Career Power-Play Statistics 

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 111
    • Power-Play Assists (Career): 431
    • Power-Play Goals On-Ice For (Rangers): 905

Jean Ratelle

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    Trailing closely behind Phil Esposito, Jean Ratelle’s 81 power-play goals make him the sixth most prolific goal scorer in franchise history on the man advantage.

    Even at the age of 35, his 17 goals in 1975-76 would have led the current Rangers unit by a wide margin.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics 

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 136
    • Power-Play Goals On-Ice For (Rangers): 296

Mike Gartner

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    Mike Gartner ranks a solid ninth on the franchise’s all time power-play goalscoring leaders with 66 finishers.

    Averaging 0.58 goals per game during his Rangers career, Gartner just knew how to score the puck.

    Still not convinced?  His 22 power-play goals in 1990-91 are tied with Marcel Dionne (1987-88) for the franchise’s fourth highest single season total.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics

    •  Power-Play Goals (Career): 217
    •  Power-Play Assists (Career): 196

Vic Hadfield

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    Vic Hadfield had some truly remarkable seasons on Broadway.

    His 23 power-play goals in 1971-72 trail only Jaromir Jagr’s 24-goal output for the Rangers' single-season power play goal record.

    He ranks fourth on the Rangers all-time power-play goal scoring list, lighting the lamp on 83 total occasions.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics  

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 93

Phil Esposito

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    Upon reaching New York, Phil Esposito may not have possessed the same scoring touch he once had earlier in his career, but alas, he proved a highly capable Blueshirts asset.

    Captaining the Rangers, Esposito finished third in postseason scoring during the team’s failed 1972-73 Stanley Cup run.

    Esposito ended his Rangers career with 82 power-play goals, good enough for fifth on the all-time list.

    Whenever a player boasts the play-making ability of Esposito—and there have been few—it makes them a force to be reckoned with on the power play.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics 

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 93
    • Power-Play Goals On-Ice For (Rangers): 239

Adam Graves

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    The very mention of Adam Graves puts a smile on the face of Rangers fans—and for good reason.

    Graves is a Blueshirt immortal, and along with his positive demeanor and reputation of sheer class, he was a pretty goal scorer too.

    Graves ranks third on the franchise’s list of career power-play goals, with an even 100 tallies.

    His 20 power-play goals in 1993-94 are the sixth highest single-season total in New York Rangers history.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 105
    • Power-Play Assists (Career): 72
    • Power-Play Goals On-Ice For (Rangers): 326

Rod Gilbert

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    Any Rangers list would be incomplete without the presence of Rod Gilbert.

    Gilbert was inducted into the hockey Hall of Fame in 1982 and was a career-long New York Ranger.

    The winger is the franchise record-holder for power-play goals scored with 108 throughout his memorable career.

    Notable Power-Play Statistics

    • Power-Play Goals (Career): 108
    • Power-Play Goals On-Ice For (Rangers): 388