Why Leap Year could be Rangers secret weapon to win Stanley Cup

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Leap Year New York Rangers fans!

As we celebrate February 29th, 2024, it’s a fun time to remind you that two out of the four Stanley Cup seasons in Rangers history were won in a Leap Year.

So, with the Rangers tied for first overall in the NHL standings with 83 points and contenting for the Presidents’ Trophy, could these Blueshirts end a 30-year Cup drought this June?

Yes, in 1928 and 1940, the New York Rangers claimed the Stanley Cup in a Leap Year. The other two championships were won in 1933 and the magical 1994 campaign, where they ended a 54-year curse.

“The Rangers had to do it the tough way,” ‘94 general manager Neil Smith told Forever Blueshirts. “There’s no comparison winning in New York City compared to anywhere else. The sheer magnitude of winning in New York is just an exhilaration like nowhere else.”

Related: Rangers Trade Board

Can the New York Rangers win it all in 2024?

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

There’s still a lot of hockey to be played this season, and there’s also an NHL Trade Deadline coming up March 8. In a recent episode of the Forever Blueshirts Show, Smith gave current President and General Manager Chris Drury a piece of advice.

“I think you need to be really careful with the team chemistry coming down the line if you’re going to bring somebody in that’s going to be a significant cog,” he said. “If you are talking about a player who one of your leaders has played with in the past, or one of your important players can endorse him to the rest of the players, then it’s a different thing.”

Back in 1994, ‘Big Deal Neil’ made a huge splash at the trade deadline bringing in several former Edmonton Oilers, and a few key Chicago Blackhawks. Glenn Anderson, Craig MacTavish, Stephane Matteau, and Brian Noonan were all key pieces and had played with several of the key Rangers in other cities.

“It worked for me, so I believe in that,” Smith said.

Now Drury will be faced with making sure he pushes the right buttons for the Blueshirts, and he may do so with Frank Vatrano.

During their 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks GM Pat Verbeek was in attendance sparking further speculation that a deal is in the works.

To date, the 29-year-old forward has 26 goals and 45 points in 58 games. Vatrano is also an All-Star with one more year left on his deal at an affordable $3.65 million. According to a source, Verbeek knows Vatrano is his biggest trade chip. So any team looking to get him will certainly need to give up something decent for his services.

While that would be a big move, Drury may still add some additional depth pieces making this one of the more interesting trade deadlines for the Rangers in recent years.

By the way, the Rangers have the fourth best odds to win the Cup per Caesars Sportsbook.

And it is a Leap Year remember!

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

More About: