Ranking the 5 Greatest Rookie Seasons in New York Rangers History

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIOctober 16, 2013

Ranking the 5 Greatest Rookie Seasons in New York Rangers History

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    The New York Rangers have had a number of stellar rookie players.

    Which rookies have had the best seasons in Rangers history?

    Based on how many goals they scored and the impact they brought to the team, we'll rank the five greatest rookie seasons in Rangers history. 

5. Mark Pavelich

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    A year after helping the United States stun the world at the 1980 Olympics, Mark Pavelich joined the Rangers and immediately made a tremendous splash.

    He scored 33 goals and had 43 assists in his rookie campaign in 1981-82. He followed that up with 37 goals the next year.

    Pavelich scored 137 goals in five seasons with the Rangers. 

4. Petr Prucha

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    Petr Prucha burst onto the scene in the 2005-06 season.

    The winger scored 30 goals in 68 assists, including 16 power-play goals, which remains a Rangers rookie record.

    He instantly became a fan favorite and followed up his stellar rookie campaign with a solid 22 goals the next season.

    Yet he was never able to regain his old magic. He scored just seven goals in 2007-08 and just four in 2008-09 before being shipped to the Phoenix Coyotes. He played just two more seasons in Phoenix before bolting to the KHL.


3. Tony Amonte

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    BOSTON - DECEMBER 01: Former NHL player Tony Amonte speaks with the media prior to his induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel on December 1, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Tony Amonte had a huge rookie year for the Rangers. He scored 35 goals and had 34 assists in the 1991-92 season.

    Amonte scored 33 goals the next season and had 16 in 1993-94 before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan.

    That trade worked out for both sides. Matteau scored the most famous goal in Rangers history, while Amonte went on to score 268 goals for Chicago.

    The Rangers could have used a scorer like Amonte in the lean years of the early 2000s, but getting Matteau for him is something they'll live with. 

2. Tony Granato

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    Tony Granato holds the rookie record for goals, with 36 in the 1988-89 campaign. He added 27 assists.

    That would be the best moment for Granato with the Rangers. He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in the middle of the 1989-90 season, where he went on to score 30-plus goals in three straight seasons.

    The player the Rangers got for Granato was Bernie Nicholls, who only played parts of three seasons with the Rangers.

    If they had to do it over again, the Rangers probably would've kept Granato. Granato scored 248 goals in his NHL career and established himself as a big-time scorer before hanging up the skates.

1. Brian Leetch

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    Brian Leetch is not only one of the best Rangers of all time, but he had the best rookie year of any player in history.

    In the 1988-89 season, in just 68 games, Leetch scored 23 goals and had 48 assists.

    Leetch won the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie and was named to the All-Rookie team.

    Leetch, of course, followed that up with a wonderful career, scoring 247 goals and 781 assists. He won the Norris Trophy twice, and was a First Team All-Star twice. His number is retired.

    From the beginning, Leetch simply dominated. His offensive gifts and his defensive prowess have not been replaced since he was traded during the 2003-04 season.