Lesser Known Rangers: Volume One

Mixed within the names of a Gilbert, Giacomin, Greschner, Leetch, Messier and so forth, there are names like Daigle, Deveaux, Frolov etc. Lesser Known Rangers dives into this topic, making you say “Oh yeah, I had no idea he was a Ranger” or “Was he really on the team? So strap yourselves in and prepare to take a trip down obscure hockey player avenue! Let’s begin!

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Alexandre Daigle, Center.

Time with Rangers: 58 Games in 1999-00

Stacking up 247 points in 119 games in juniors, Alexandre Daigle was poised to become the next NHL superstar. So much so, he received the largest starting salary for a rookie at 5 years, $12.25 million. Talk about taking someone to the bank!

His stock was so incredibly high that the Quebec Nordiques were willing to depart with Peter Forsberg in order to draft Daigle. Posting 88 points in his first two seasons, Daigle seemed to be heading for superstardom.

After his stellar start, Daigle seemed interested in being a celebrity rather than a hockey player, which led to accusations of him lacking motivation and effort. That being said, his point production declined along with Ottawa’s patience in waiting for the potential superstar to break out. During the 97-98 campaign, Ottawa had enough and Daigle was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for Vaclav Prospal and fellow first-round bust Pat Faloon.

Failing to make his mark with Philadelphia, the Flyers dealt Daigle to Edmonton, who was then flipped to Tampa Bay for Alexei Selivanov. After playing 32 games with Tampa Bay, Daigle was traded to the Rangers, sending cash in return. Daigle was brought in as a reclamation project and failed to live up to his past hype by only putting up 8 goals and 18 assists in 58 games during the 99-00 campaign for the Rangers, which ultimately led to him being placed on waivers at the end of the season.

Ilkka Heikkinen, Defense

Time with Rangers: 7 games in 2009-2010

Ilkka Heikkinen’s tenure with the Rangers seemed to be one of poor timing. Heikkinen posted a line of 8 goals and 30 assists with a plus/minus rating of -2 during the 2009-2010 AHL campaign. In seven games with the Rangers that same year, he posted a plus/minus of +2 but never hit the score sheet.

Then coach John Tortorella claimed to like his physicality but hated his defensive positioning. Another case that didn’t help Heikkinen’s cause was the then emergence of Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto. Factor in Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival and Heikkinen didn’t really find a spot with the Rangers. He was even quoted as saying..

 “They have their six d and they don’t want to send anybody down. I think I’m not going to get a one-way contract, not if I play the whole year in the AHL,” a discouraged Heikkinen, 25, told Newsday yesterday after practice in Hartford. “I’m not going to play a second year here. I’ll go back to Europe or maybe Russia.” Newsday

Heikkinen returned to Europe in 2010 and is currently playing for the Växjö Lakers Hockey Club in the SHL.

Alexander Frolov, Wing.

Time with Rangers: 43 games in 2010-2011

A Los Angeles Kings mainstay for many years, the Rangers signed Alexander Frolov to a one year $3 million contract in hopes of providing another offensive weapon alongside Marian Gaborik. After a slow start, it seemed Frolov was going to break out when he sustained a knee injury after Ducks forward Brad Winchester fell on Frolov’s leg, promptly tearing his ACL. Surgery was required to repair the knee, which ended his season prematurely.

Frolov managed to produce seven goals and nine assists in his only go around with the Rangers, falling short of the expectation to provide extra offense to Gaborik’s elite skill set. After the season concluded, Frolov opted to play in Russia in 2010, and after a small retirement in 2014, returned to hockey in 2015, where he currently plays for Amur Khabarovsk of the KHL.

That’s all for now. If you have any names for more “Lesser Known Rangers”, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section below.

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