Open Mic: New York Rangers' All-Time Lineup
I want to start by saying that I am making this team without considering current players. I was initially going to write this making assumptions about how current Rangers careers might end up going, but decided to make it an all-retired team.
So, here it is:
Mike Richter was probably the first Ranger whose name I ever learned. I fell in love with the guy almost instantaneously, and I credit him for being the reason why I became a Rangers fan.
It helps that he was a damn good goalie. It's just too bad his career was cut short. He certainly would have been Hall of Fame material had he not been hampered by injury.
While I was never able to see Eddie Giacomin play, it is undeniable that he was a key to the Rangers' success. In my mind, Giacomin is undoubtedly one of the best goalies ever to put on a Rangers jersey.
I can't make an All-Rangers team without putting together my two favorite Rangers defensemen—Jeff Beukeboom and Brian Leetch.
I used to love watching these two guys play. Beukeboom brought so much energy to the ice, and made a couple funny commercials while he was at it.
I don't really think I need to explain why Leetch is here. He is arguably the best Ranger of all time. If not, he is definitely the best defenseman.
The second pairing is two Hall of Famers I wasn't around to see—Brad Park and Harry Howell.
I feel these guys would be able to balance each other out nicely. Howell was a defense-minded player, and pretty good defenseman at that. Park had great offensive talent.
Park would be allowed to mix up in the play, knowing that Howell was back there to slow down maybe even stop any counter attack. Park would be able to score and set up goals, while Harry would be the iron man in the back. It would make for one solid pairing.
Ron Greshner and James Patrick would probably be my other pair. Both guys are in the the Rangers' top ten in career assists, so you know they were able to move the puck around.
I'll start with the fourth line—Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle, and Steve Vickers. Hadfield and Ratelle played together, so they would probably produce like they did playing for the GAG line. I think Vickers would factor in nicely and also see similar production to what he did in his career.
The third line would be Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner. I like putting these guys together—they are all great players and would be able to put up solid numbers.
The second line would be Jari Kurri, Andy Bathgate, and Guy Lafleur. All three of these guys are Rangers I wish I could've seen. What better way to watch them than playing together.
For the first line, you may disagree with my left winger, but he is my favorite Ranger of all time—Adam Graves. Mark Messier is pretty much a guarantee for a spot on this roster, so is Rod Gilbert. I think putting these three players together, in their prime as Rangers, would produce a deadly line.
Borrowing from the GAG line, you would probably call these guys the two-or-three GAG line.
Captain: Mark Messier
Alternate 1: Brian Leetch
Alternate 2: Harry Howell
Alternate 3: Vic Hadfield
Guys that almost made it
Jacques Plante: Great goalie, but I just like Richter and Giacomin more.
Bill and Bun Cook: I feel they are a package deal, and by the time I got around to them, I couldn't justify breaking up any of my other lines or picking two guys to take off the list. If I had gone through with it, they would've gone on the third line, probably taking Dionne and Gartner out of the lineup.
Walt Tkaczuk: He was the only top-ten point getter for the Rangers that I didn't know off the top of my head. So he was the only one who didn't make it on the team.
Art Coulter: I had to make room for Beukeboom—so unfortunately, this was the guy who got scratched.
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