All Time American Born NY Rangers Team
New York City’s first NHL team wasn’t our beloved Rangers. Yes, the Blueshirts were proceeded by one year by the New York Americans. The “Amerks” as there were affectionately known, were Madison Square Garden’s primary hockey tenant in 1925. Those of you well versed in the history of the Blueshirts are most certainly aware that MSG boss Tex Rickard, wanting an NHL team of his own, founded the “Tex’s Rangers” in 1926 and quickly turned his newly acquired squad of talented players from across North America into a juggernaut that would win three Stanley Cups in 14 seasons and eventually force the Americans first to Brooklyn, and then into Chapter 11 in 1942 Which, of course, lead to the alleged and sensationalized “Curse of Red Dutton”.
There is just a smidge of irony in the fact that the Rangers sent the Americans into the scrap heap of the NHL’s defunct teams and I am now profiling some of the best American born players to don the red, while and blue uniform.
Mike Richter, G
Starting in goal, number 35 and the native of Abington, PA, Mike Richter. At the time of his retirement in 2004, Richter, the clear definition of a stalwart, was the Rangers all time leader in wins with 301 and was the invaluable backstop of the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship team. Richter’s sweater was the first to be retired from the Cup winning squad and only the third jersey to be retired overall by the Rangers.
Ryan McDonagh, D
Stating on defense: Number 27 and native of St Paul, MN. Former Ranger captain Ryan McDonagh. “Mac Truck” was as tough as any player to ever patrol the Blueshirt’s blue line. His superior skating ability and dynamic hockey sense made him an instant favorite of the Garden Faithful and very much deserving of having the “C” sewn into the upper left section of his sweater.
Brian Leetch, D
His partner on defense is none other than number 2 and native of Corpus Christi, TX Brian Leetch. Leetch is. simply put. the greatest American born defenseman in NHL history which makes his inclusion on my proverbial list the worst kept secret since “Who Shot J.R. Ewing”
The Calder, Norris, Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup winning Leetch is pure Ranger royalty and his #2 sweater will forever dangle from the iconic Garden ceiling.
Ryan Callahan, RW
Starting on right wing is my third former Ranger captain and Rochester, NY native, number 24, Ryan Callahan. “Captain Cally” was the epitome of the Black-And-Blueshirt style of play under John Tortorella. Cally’s underrated offensive game was dwarfed by his relentless fore checking and his unparalleled fearlessness, Callahan could score a highlight real goal one shift and then dive in front of a Zdeno Chara 100MPH slap shot the next.
Mark Pavelich, C
At center, number 40 and native of Eveleth, MN Mark Pavelich. A member of the 1980 US Men’s Olympic “Miracle On Ice” team and the second Blueshirt to tally five goals in a single game, the diminutive Pavelich burst on the scene for the Rangers in the 1981-82 season and was consistently among the better Ranger players for his five year tenure on Broadway. Pav’s .93 points-per-game average ranks among the best in team history.
Chris Kreider, LW
And, on left wing, is the sole member of my hypothetical list that currently remains on the Ranger roster and that is the native of Boxford, MA, number 20 Chris Kreider. Ever since the hulking Kreider made his Ranger debut in the 2012 playoff series against the Ottawa Senators, the 2009 first round pick has endeared himself to Rangerstown like few others. Kreider’s unique skill sets, which include blazing speed, superior strength and uncanny goal scoring ability, recently earned him a massive, lucrative long-term extension from the only NHL team he’s ever known.
Honorable Mention: Derek Stepan. John Vanbiesbrouck. Tony Amonte. Cecil Dillon.