Rangers Greatest Hits: Jaromír Jágr’s Record-Breaking Year of 2005-06
Who scored the most points in a single season for the New York Rangers? Who scored the most goals in a single season for the New York Rangers? The answer to both questions is Jaromír Jágr
On Jan. 23, 2004, the New York Rangers executed a modest trade with the Washington Capitals, bringing Jaromír Jágr to Broadway in exchange for Anson Carter. After three seasons in the nation’s capital, Jágr needed a change of scenery to revitalize his career, and there’s no grander stage in the NHL than Madison Square Garden.
Statistically, by the time he came to New York, Jágr was already going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer with two Stanley Cup rings, five scoring titles, one Hart Trophy, and two Ted Lindsay Awards. Additionally, the Kladno, Czech Republic native, had an Olympic gold medal, scored over 500 goals, and collected over 1,200 points.
Ultimately, his best seasons came with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he debuted in 1990. However, tensions ran high between the player and ownership about money in 2001, so the team sent him to Washington in a blockbuster summer deal.
After scoring over 100 points in four of the six seasons leading up to the trade, Jágr never met expectations with the Capitals, failing to score more than 79 points in his three seasons there. But, when he came to the Rangers, many wondered if he’d ever find that magical touch again.
Although he scored 29 points in 31 games after the trade to New York, the Rangers didn’t make the playoffs, and the league went into a lockout wiping out the entire 2004-05 campaign. At the time, there were a lot of questions surrounding Jágr and the Rangers upon their return to action in Oct. 2005. However, no one would have ever projected that they would see the most remarkable statistical campaign in franchise history.
Jágr sets the tone for the campaign with a breakout opening night.
In their first game back on Oct. 5, 2005, against the Philadelphia Flyers, Jágr collected two goals on the powerplay, including the game-winner to finish the night with three points in a 5-3 win. After 13 games in October, his totals included 12 goals, with nine coming on the power play and seven assists for 19 points. Additionally, Jágr averaged 20:29 of ice time a night and finished the month with a plus-two rating and 14 penalty minutes.
As the calendar flipped to November, he raised the bar with 20 points in 13 games. Ultimately, he balanced out his goal-scoring by collecting nine goals (two on the powerplay) and 11 helpers while playing two extra minutes (22:04) a night.
Of course, Jágr didn’t slow down heading into the holidays, tallying 22 points in 13 games in December. Despite increasing his point total for the third straight month, his goal-scoring dipped significantly, with just four goals that month. Statistically, most of his points came from assists (18), which was a result of just 48 shots on goal, his lowest total of the season thus far. Furthermore, his ice time dipped an entire minute this month, down to 21:19.
Unfortunately, the holiday break slowed Jágr down, who only netted ten points in ten games in January. After 61 points in 39 games leading up to the new year, it was pretty shocking to see him stumble for an entire month with just four goals and six assists. Realistically, no one would have thought he’d net another 52 points down the stretch. However, that’s what he did.
Because of the Winter Olympic break in February, the Rangers played only six games, but Jágr made the most of them by collecting 12 points thanks to seven goals and five assists. However, the league returned to action on Mar. 1, but by that time, Jágr was already on pace for another 100-point campaign with 88 points in 58 games at the break.
Historically, he was about to become the first Rangers player since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 to surpass 100 points and just the sixth player to ever achieve the feat with the Blueshirts.
Thanks to 16 games in March, Jágr exploded for 26 points, with 12 goals and 14 helpers while skating a season-high 22:35 during this stretch. Additionally, he collected a season-high 72 shots and 24 penalty minutes that month. Ultimately, that offensive outburst in March gave him 114 points to become the Ranger’s record holder for most points in the regular season, breaking the record (109) held by Jean Ratelle from 1971-72.
In the season’s final eight games, Jágr picked up an additional nine points (two goals and seven assists) to finish the campaign at 123 points, a team record still intact 17 years later. Statistically, when it was all over, Jágr owned the team record for points and goals (54) and while collecting the seventh most (at the time) assists (69) in team history.
Sadly, despite all the success in the regular season, Jágr scored a single point (an assist) during a four-game sweep at the hand of the New Jersey Devils.
Inside the numbers of Jágr’s record season
Interestingly, Jágr didn’t miss a single game, skating in all 82 contests, averaging 22:05 of ice time a night. During his historic season, he scored three hat tricks against the New York Islanders, Flyers, and Penguins and had a goal in 40 contests.
Jágr’s best games came against the St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Islanders (twice), where he collected four points in each contest. In eight games against the Long Island rivals, he scored 18 points, accounting for 14.6% of his season totals. Meanwhile, he tormented divisional rivals with shots, including season highs against the Flyers (12), Penguins (11), and Devils (10).
Overall, Jágr had points in 64 games and scored nine game-winners, which accounted for 20% of New York’s 44 wins that season. As a result of his magical campaign, he won the Lindsay Award (third time), finished second in Hart Trophy voting, and earned an All-Star recognition at season’s end.
What happened to Jágr after the 2005-06 season?
When Jágr’s time in New York ended after the 2007-08 season, he didn’t disappoint during his stint with the club, scoring 319 points in 277 games. However, at 35, there didn’t appear to be a place for him with the Rangers or in the NHL, so he opted to play in Russia in the KHL.
When he departed, he had 1,599 points in 1,273 games thanks to 646 goals and 953 assists. As mentioned, he was a lock to immediately enter the Hall of Fame even before he went to Russia to skate. But his story didn’t end there, and after three years away, he returned to the NHL to renew his quest for another Stanley Cup.
Despite returning to the Final with the Boston Bruins in 2013, Jágr performed differently than in the old days and bounced from one team to another. During the first 18 years of his NHL career, he played in Pittsburgh, Washington, and New York.
Upon his return in 2011, he skated with the Flyers, Dallas Stars, Bruins, Devils, Florida Panthers, and Calgary Flames. Although he never appeared to have lost a step, his best statistical seasons were 2013-14 (67 points) and 2015-16 (66 points), never coming close to 100 points again.
Interestingly, after the hat tricks in 2005-06 with New York, he scored only one more in his illustrious career on Jan. 3, 2015, as a member of the Devils in a 5-2 win over the Flyers.
Even though Jágr is still playing at 51 for his hometown team in Kladno, a franchise he owns, his NHL days are over, leaving him as the league’s second-highest scorer behind Wayne Gretzky with 1,921 points. Furthermore, he ranks fourth in goals (766) behind Gretzky, Alex Ovechkin, and Gordie Howe.
Meanwhile, with 1,155 assists, he ranks fifth behind Gretzky, Ron Francis, Mark Messier, and Ray Bourque. Historically, the only record Jágr still owns today is game-winning goals (135), which Ovechkin is just 11 tallies away from breaking.
Even though most fans remember Jágr for his highlight reel goals in a Penguins uniform, many Rangers fans will always cherish his historic 2005-06 season, which brought many fans to their feet at Madison Square Garden.