Lesser Known Rangers – Volume 13

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The New York Rangers are one of hockey’s long standing franchises. From World War II to JORTS, from Telegrams to Emoji’s, the Rangers have withstood the test of time.

During all of this, many notable players have passed through wearing the blueshirt, but there are also those who aren’t as notable, so returning with a vengeance, here is another edition of Lesser Known Rangers, sponsored by typewriters. Typewriters, just like clothes, we’ll come back in style soon enough. 

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Benn Ferriero, Right Wing

Time with Rangers: 4 games with New York, 23 games with CT in 2012-13

Coming from the San Jose Sharks and WBS Penguins, Benn Ferriero was a gritty, fourth line guy who made a decent impact early on in his career. When the Rangers traded for him in the AHL for Chad Kolarik, New York called him up and threw him out there, in which he seemed like he gave his all.

Problem is, he wasn’t productive, nor did he stay long with the big club. From my hazy memory, he was slated to be an energy guy but that seemed to fade after a game or two under Torts. After only tallying one assist on the big club, he was sent back down to Connecticut where he played a combined 23 games for the Whale, before he bounced around to Vancouver, Utica, Providence and Chicago alongside a trip overseas. He’s also the last guy I remember wearing number 36 before Zuccarello.

I thought this guy was going to be a glue piece for this team. Then again, this is why I’m typing this out and not sitting in a comfy chair in the Rangers front office…

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James Sheppard, Center

Time with Rangers: 14 games during 2014-15 season, 13 in playoffs.

Before I go deeper into this, many players during the AV tenure were driven out of town unfairly. Outside of Keith Yandle, James Sheppard was one of those players. Now, before anyone decides to get on my case, Sheppard was active, engaged and competent down the middle as a center. Then again, AV has a history of not using players in the right spots (cough cough ERIC STAAL cough cough). That and scratching him for Tanner Glass really would set me off, since Sather acquired Sheppard to fill out Center depth that the Rangers didn’t really have at the time.

Sheppard was drafted 9th overall by the Minnesota Wild during the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Sheppard was a consistent 40 plus point player, putting up 30 plus goals in his last two seasons in juniors. Sadly, that scoring touch didn’t really translate well to the NHL, but he played well enough to fit as a bottom tier center for the Wild and San Jose Sharks.

As the Rangers made another one of many playoff pushes, they acquired Sheppard during the 2014-15 season for a fourth round pick. Whenever he was on the ice, the team seemed to generate more offense on it’s 3rd/4th lines and seemed to me that James Sheppard was fitting in well along with playing strong hockey. Sadly, he would be scratched on many occasions for Tanner Glass. Whenever Sheppard did play, you noticed him, or at least I did.

Sheppard would play 13 games for New York during the playoff run before leaving the team. If there was a depth player that would’ve fit in with the squad for the following season, it would’ve been James Sheppard. Unfortunately, the Rangers decided not to re-sign him, as he would have tryouts for Columbus and Vancouver before heading off to Austria, then Germany.

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Hartford Courant

Ken Gernander, Right Wing

Time with Rangers: 12 regular season games (95-96, 03-04), 15 playoff games (95-96, 96-97)

Ken Gernander lasted a long time in the hockey world as a player and a coach. A member of both the Binghamton Rangers, Hartford Wolf Pack as a player, then as coach of the Wolf Pack and Connecticut Whale, Gernander was affiliated with the New York Rangers for quite some time. A Calder Cup winner in 2000, Gernander got a few cups of coffee with the big club. In his time in New York, Gernander registered 8 points (5 G, 3 A) and was primarily an injury fill in or short term replacement.

After Gernander’s retirement from hockey, He left his mark by being the AHL’s all-time leader in career playoff games played (123) and is the AHL’s all-time leading scorer among American-born players with 624 points in 973 games. Gernander then went on to be an assistant coach for Hartford before becoming the head honcho behind the bench for 9 plus seasons, overseeing the development of many current and former Rangers, like Ryan McDonagh, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller and Mats Zuccarello.

Gernander was fired after the 2016-2017 season and is currently a scout for the New York Islanders.