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Michael Nylander played just two seasons with the Rangers (2005-06 and 2006-07), but his partnership with Jaromir Jagr helped restore the respectability of the franchise.
Nylander was as pure a playmaker as anyone. Fans will probably—and unfortunately—remember him for his reluctance to shoot the puck, opting to almost always pass instead. However, the truth is Nylander not only recorded career highs in assists and points with the Rangers, but also in goals.
The Rangers signed Nylander specifically to play with Jagr. Coming out of the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the Rangers were in need of a centerman to play with the big man, who the organization acquired in 2003-04.
Jagr and Nylander had played together in Washington from 2001-04, and as an unrestricted free agent, Nylander was a prime target for the Rangers.
The duo was an instant hit, and behind Nylander’s 23 goals, 56 assists and 79 points, Jagr and the Rangers soared to their first 100-point season since 1993-94.
Nylander was even better in 2006-07, when he had the best season of his career: 26 goals, 57 assists for 83 points. Although he finished just 23rd in the league scoring that season, his numbers would have been good enough for fifth in 2011-12, ahead of John Tavares, Henrik Sedin and Joe Thornton.