Artemi Panarin is constructing one of the greatest offensive seasons in Rangers history with 68 points (26 goals, 42 assists) in 47 games. But the electric winger has a long way to go to surpass No. 68 at the top of the franchise’s all-time single-season list.
For Jaromir Jagr not only established franchise records of 54 goals and 123 points in 2005-06, he carried that team to the playoffs, ending a seven-season drought with a club that had been regarded as no better than the Blueshirts’ current squad during the preseason.
Just as it is with Panarin, who has elevated his teammates and team, it was much more than numbers with Jagr. It always is with great ones and great seasons. If it weren’t, we could allow just mathematical formulas to select Hart Trophy winners and the like.
But what are the greatest offensive seasons in Rangers history?
- Jagr, 2005-06.
- Jean Ratelle, 109 points (46-63) in 63 games during the 1971-72 season that ended for No. 19 when he sustained a broken ankle when hit by a shot from teammate Dale Rolfe in a March 1 contest. Ratelle averaged 1.73 points per game while skating with GAG Line mates Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert, while Art Ross Trophy winner Phil Esposito collected 1.75 ppg in finishing with 133 points in 76 games for the Bruins. Ratelle’s injury likely cost the second-best team in modern franchise history the Stanley Cup, the Blueshirts eventually going down in a six-game final round to the Bruins with Ratelle appearing as a faint shadow of himself in the series.
- Brian Leetch, 102 points (20-82) in 1991-92 while winning the Norris Trophy as a 23-year-old in his fourth full season. Leetch had an outstanding 1993-94 and won a second Norris in 1996-97, but No. 2 was an offensive dynamo in Mark Messier’s first season on Broadway.
- Andy Bathgate, 88 points (40-48) in 1958-59 while winning the Hart Trophy and first-team All-Star designation at right wing, thus breaking the Maurice Richard-Gordie Howe 14-year stranglehold on that spot, during which the Rocket was first-team All-Star eight times and Mr. Hockey six times.
- Marian Gaborik, 86 points (42-44) in 2009-10 while playing primarily with Vinny Prospal on the left and either Brandon Dubinsky or Erik Christensen in the middle. The Great Gabby bolted out of the gate with 26 goals in his first 35 games after signing a massive, five-year free agent deal worth $7.5 million per. Two years later, Gaborik joined Mike Gartner as the only Rangers to ever score 40 or more goals twice within three seasons before being run out of New York a year after that by John Tortorella.
- Mike Rogers, 103 points (38-65) in 1981-82. Six Rangers have recorded 100 points or more in a season, and Rogers joins franchise fables Messier, Hadfield, Ratelle, Leetch and Jagr in that club. Rogers had put up a pair of 105-point seasons for the Whalers before coming to New York in a deal in which Doug Sulliman was the key piece going the other way. He finished 13th in the NHL scoring race that season with 27 points more than Rangers runner-up Ron Duguay, but was 109 points behind Art Ross winner Wayne Gretzky.
Jordan Greenway has been toiling on the fourth line in Minnesota, and you had better believe the Rangers will be inquiring what it would take to acquire the 22-year-old, 6-foot-6 winger who thrived playing for David Quinn at Boston University.
The top 10 undrafted players to make their NHL debuts in the cap era: 1. Panarin; 2. Sergei Bobrovsky; 3. Mats Zuccarello; 4. Tyler Bozak; 5. Mark Giordano; 6. Torey Krug; 7. Dan Girardi; 8. Tyler Johnson; 9. Alex Burrows; 10. Andy Greene. Honorable mention: Cam Talbot, Nate Schmidt.
So if you transposed Columbus’ Zach Werenski-Seth Jones first pair onto the Rangers, would the Blueshirts be in the playoff spot currently held by the Blue Jackets?
And, seriously, in coaching the team he has rather than the one that he had last season or might want to have, Tortorella could well have another Adams Award as coach of the year in his sights if Columbus can maintain its hold on a tournament spot.
Though his old buddy Mike Sullivan might pick up a few votes for his job with the Penguins.
It is the All-Star break and the Maple Leafs are still somehow not in a playoff spot, and if anyone in the organization truly believes this is still about two, three or four years down the line, it is not.
Toronto isn’t in, same for Vegas, same for Nashville, same for Calgary, and every one of them has already made a coaching change this season, though the Flames’ Bill Peters would presumably still be in place if his past hadn’t caught up to him.
Mike Babcock has just disappeared, hasn’t he? And it is a wonder that the league is still playing games without the input from one of the people who couldn’t wait to tell you how he invented it.
Oh, sorry, I might have gotten Babcock mixed up with Dan Bylsma.
Who gets hired first, Gerard Gallant, Peter Laviolette or Babcock?
Snapshot. Elite Eight: 1. Tampa Bay; 2. Washington; 3. St. Louis; 4. Boston; 5. Pittsburgh; 6. Colorado; 7. Columbus; 8. Florida.
So is Keith Yandle having a nice career, or what?
Chris Kreider’s trade value has skyrocketed after Friday’s speedskating contest in St. Louis because before that, nobody knew he was fast.
Finally, with Mat Barzal winning that skills competition with the third-fastest time ever recorded, it is now unassailable that Islanders coach Barry Trotz is the only man in the world who can slow down No. 13.
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