Lesser Known Rangers Vol 18 – Mike Edition
Summer is in full swing, and the ice has been replaced with humidity and semi poorly performing National League baseball teams. Outside of that, hockey is still around and as relevant as ever. I don’t know what I meant by that, but I’m sure it’ll please the bossman.
That said, we’re here to talk about hockey players. Yes, that’s the point I’m trying to make. The Rangers have had numerous players on their team over 90 plus years. Some of those names notable and some not so much. We’re going to take a look at some of the Lesser Known Rangers, who happen to all be named Mike. If you’re thinking I didn’t put a lot of time looking for obscure names with Mike, you would be wrong. I have nothing better to do on a workday after all my work is done. Model employee. Now, enough of my banter and let’s get right to it!
Mike Keane, Right Wing
Time with Rangers: 70 games played during the 1997-98 season
Trying to beef up the squad to help out Wayne Gretzky, then GM Neil Smith signed both Brian Skrudland (three years, $5 million) and Mike Keane (four years, $8 million) to long term deals, together during the offseason. It didn’t really work out the way it was supposed to, as both Skrudland and Keane had down seasons for New York. Keane only registered 18 points before both signings were shipped to Dallas for Todd Harvey later that season.
Keane was supposed to help become a veteran leader for the Rangers at the time but it simply did not work out. Keane’s most notable moment as a New York Ranger was accidentally bumping into teammate Pat LaFontaine, giving him his final NHL concussion and ending his career.
In another cruel twist of fate, after the Rangers shipped Keane off to Dallas, he would win the Stanley Cup against the Buffalo Sabres in 1999.
Mike Mottau, Defenseman
Time with Rangers: 19 games over two seasons with New York (2000-2002)
Probably blessed with the thickest Boston accent I’ve heard a player sport, Mike Mottau was a serviceable defenseman throughout his career, just not with the Rangers. After drafting him 182nd overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Mottau went on to have a solid collegiate career with Boston College, winning the Hobey Baker award for best player.
After holding out for a contract and opting to play in the World Championships instead of the playoff-bound Hartford Wolf Pack at the time, Mottau finally signed a contract in October of 2000. Mottau was a solid defenseman for the Hartford Wolf Pack during his tenure there, playing 141 games (15 playoff games) and putting up 94 points in two seasons with the Pack, along with a combined plus/minus ratings of +29 in the two seasons.
In his 19 games as a Ranger, Mottau was okay at best on terrible Rangers teams, sporting 3 points total and a pus/minus of -6. In his final season in the Rangers organization, Mottau played in 29 games, putting up 19 points and a plus/minus rating of +9 during the 2002-03 season.
Bouncing around the AHL with Calgary’s farm team, along with Anaheim’s farm team and St.Louis, Mottau played in the AHL again with the New Jersey Devils, where he would be a servicable defensemen and play out most of his career. Short stints with the Islanders, Bruins and Panthers, Mottau called it quits after the 2013-14 season.
Mike Mottau is probably known more by Rangers fans for fighting Sean Avery a few times rather than his play for the Rangers. Hey, that’s way more that what I’ve got on my NHL resume. I did once pull a nice deke against Mottau in a NHL video game, so there’s that.
Mike Dunham, Goaltender
Time with Rangers: 100 games for the Rangers over the span of two seasons (2002-2004)
Originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils and played his college hockey at the University of Maine, Dunham was acquired to fill the revolving door of goaltenders during the early 2000s. In 2003-04, the Rangers struggles continued, and for the seventh straight season, New York missed the postseason. Dunham was serviceable with a .924 save percentage his first season, and a .896 save percentage his second season.
Finishing his career with the Islanders and the Thrashers in 2007, Dunham hung up the skates. While his time as a Ranger wasn’t a standout one, Dunham was a long-time reliable backup for the Predators, along with winning the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship in 1992-93 and was a Calder Cup champion with the Albany River Rats of the AHL in 1995.