In the NHL, a player’s “greatness” is usually measured by how many goals they can score in an 82-game season. While the goals are what determines who wins and loses, assists play an important role in the game of hockey.
Some goals would not be made without a beautiful tape-to-tape pass across the ice—the kind that leaves the goalies and defenders mystified.
Throughout the New York Rangers' 86-year existence, the franchise has seen plenty of gifted players who could not only get the puck to the back of the net but also set up a goal, sliding the puck magically across the ice.
Here’s to these players who passed up a slap shot for a well-placed pass to a teammate who had a better scoring opportunity.
Jaromír Jágr played for the New York Rangers for four years. During that time, the future Hall of Famer not only netted 124 goals but also added 195 assists.
Jágr currently holds the record for the most regular-season assists by a right-winger with 69 assists during the 2005-06 season.
Jágr is currently tenth on the NHL’s leaderboard for all-time assists.
Hadfield played for the Blueshirts for 13 seasons. During that time, he was one of the most beloved Rangers.
Not only did he have 262 goals, but he also added 310 assists. When he retired, he was fourth in Rangers' franchise history in goals, assists and points behind his linemates Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert and Andy Bathgate.
Currently, he is tenth in franchise history in assists.
Steve Vickers played for 10 seasons in the NHL; all were with the New York Rangers between 1972 and 1982.
During that time, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) and also played with other great Ranger players including Walt Tkaczuk, Bill Fairbairn, Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle.
With all the great talent surrounding him, Vickers was able to tally 340 assists.
Patrick played for four teams during his time in the NHL. For 10 years, Patrick played for the New York Rangers, and he was later traded to the Hartford Whalers.
In that 10-year span, he was able to tally 363 assists; he is eighth best on the franchise’s all-time list.
Currently, Patrick is an assistant coach under Lindy Ruff in Buffalo, a team he played on for six years.
Greschner was selected 32nd overall by the New York Rangers in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. He played in 982 career NHL games (all with the Rangers), and did not disappoint during that time.
Greschner did it on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck.
Not only did he acquire 1,226 penalty minutes, which is a Rangers record, but also he posted 610 points, 431 of them assists.
The 2007 Hall of Famer played in 698 games for the Blueshirts. During that time he averaged close to a point a game which included 441 assists.
More importantly, Messier helped the Rangers win the Stanley Cup in 1994, their last appearance in the Stanley Cup.
Messier is currently third all-time on the NHL career assists leaderboard with 1,193, which places him behind Ron Francis and a former Blueshirt. Any guesses who the all-time assists leader is?
The answer is “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky is the all-time assist leader with 1,963 helpers.
In three years with the Rangers, he had 192 assist in 234 games.
Truly amazing stats from the best hockey player ever to play the game.
Tkaczuk not only was the first German-born player to ever play in the NHL, but he also was a pretty successful New York Ranger.
In 945 career games, Tkaczuk had 227 goals and 451 assists equaling 678 points.
A serious eye injury cut Tkaczuk's time in the NHL short.
Andy Bathgate had a very successful career in the NHL. He played for four different teams; however, most of his success came with the Blueshirts.
Not only did he put up great stats with the Rangers, but he also was able to win a Hart Memorial Trophy and a Stanley Cup during his tenure. Bathgate tallied 272 goals, 457 assists, and 729 points.
Bathgate was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
Ratelle played on a line with Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert. The line was known as the “GAG line,” or the "Goal-A-Game line."
Ratelle had plenty of goals with both the Rangers and the Boston Bruins, but he also tallied plenty of assists. He had 336 goals (second on the Rangers all-time list) and 481 assists (third) and totaled 817 points, which is third all-time in Rangers history.
He was one of the best the Rangers had and one of the more underrated players in all of the NHL.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982 and was the first player in New York Rangers history to have his number retired, and rightfully so.
In 19 years with the Blueshirts, he played over 1,000 games with the franchise, netting 406 goals and adding 615 assists totaling 1,021 points, which is the most in Rangers history.
The only downside to Gilbert’s career was the fact he never led the Rangers to a Stanley Cup. That and being number two on this list. The best passer in Rangers history is…
…One of my favorite Rangers of all-time: defenseman Brian Leetch.
While he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, he only played for those teams for two seasons combined.
During his tenure with the Rangers, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy, the James Norris Memorial Trophy (Top NHL Defenseman, twice in 1992 and 1997) and the Stanley Cup, where he also took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP.
His stats include 240 goals, 741 assists and 941 total points in 1,129 games.
Leetch’s 741 assists is 126 more than Rod Gilbert made which makes him first on the Rangers all-time list and the best passer in their history.