New York Rangers: Ranking the Top 5 Rangers of All-Time

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#1 Mark Messier

Simply known as “The Captain”, Mark Messier in this writers eyes easily goes down as the single greatest player to ever don a Rangers uniform.  While much of his NHL success happened while part of the Gretzky-led Oliers teams of the 80’s, Messier was the real heart of the squad whose a fierce competitive edge and intense leadership in the locker room was equally important as his direct impact on the ice.

Already a 5-time champion by the time he put on Rangers jersey, Messier joined New York after the 1990 season in Edmonton’s fire sale of cost cutting maneuvers.  In his first season as a member of the Blueshirts, Messier’s 35 goals and 107 points lead the team to the NHL’s best regular season record on the way to earning him his second Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.  Unfortunately for the Rangers that postseason, New York ran into 2nd round opponent Mario Lemieux and the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

After missing the playoffs for the first time in his Hall of Fame NHL career the following season, New York ushered in new head coach Mike Keenan before the start of the 1993-1994 season.   Together Keenan and Messier put Broadway on their shoulders that year and carried the 94′ Rangers squad throughout their memorable run to ending the teams 54 year championship drought and ultimately hoisting the 1994 Stanley Cup.  However, what really cemented Messier’s status as #1 on The Empire’s list of Greatest Rangers of All-Time was not merely based on winning the Cup that year.  No, Messier became a legend that year and earned his #1 spot on the list because of what went down in New York history and is still simply known by many Rangers fans today as, “The Promise”.