Top 10 players to play for both Rangers, Islanders

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

In 51 seasons, only 72 players have worn both a New York Rangers and New York Islanders jersey during their careers. So, with the Rangers and Islanders set to renew their rivalry outdoors at MetLife Stadium in the 2024 Stadium Series on Sunday, it’s time to sort out who the top 10 players are that played for both teams.

Let’s take a look.

Related: Top 10 games in Rangers vs. Islanders history

Top 10 players who played for both Rangers, Islanders

NHL: New York Rangers at Minnesota Wild
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

#10. Michael Grabner (432 games combined)

Michael Grabner came to the Islanders in October 2010 when they selected him off waivers from the Florida Panthers. Over five seasons, the speedy forward scored 90 goals and 144 points on Long Island before a trade sent him to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015.

After a brief stint in Canada, Grabner became a free agent in 2016 and, on July 1, joined the Rangers. He had two productive seasons on Broadway, with 52 goals and 71 points in 135 games. Interestingly, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils in February 2018 to complete the New York area NHL trifecta.

#9. Brian Mullen (388 games)

Brian Mullen debuted with the Winnipeg Jets during the 1982-83 season and scored 20 or more goals in four of his first five seasons. At 25 years old, the forward was traded to the Rangers in June 1987, and in four seasons, the New York native scored 100 goals in 307 games, hitting the 20-goal mark three straight seasons.

In May 1991, Mullen was traded to the San Jose Sharks, where he played one season before another trade brought him to the Islanders. He finished his NHL career on Long Island in 1992-93 after he registered 18 goals in 81 games.

#8. Ray Ferraro (381 games)

Ray Ferrero began his 1,258-game NHL career with the Hartford Whalers in 1984. Six seasons later, he was traded to the Islanders, where he spent five productive seasons. The center skated in 316 games and had 238 points with the Islanders, including an NHL career-best 80 points in 1991-92.

As a free agent in the summer of 1995, Ferrero agreed to a deal with the Rangers, switching jerseys for the third time in his career. However, his time with the Blueshirts was limited to just 65 games, where he registered 54 points, before a March 1996 trade sent him to the Los Angeles Kings.

Related: Rangers react to ‘heartbreaking’ Blake Wheeler injury ahead of Stadium Series

#7. John Vanbiesbrouck (493 games)

John Vanbiesbiebrouck was a Vezina Trophy winner as a 22-year-old with the Rangers in 1985-86. “Breezer” was the Rangers goalie for 11 seasons and he compiled a 200-177-47 record.

After leading the Florida Panthers to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final and also playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, Vanbiesbrouck came to the Islanders in June 2000. He made 44 appearances with them, earning a 10-25-5 record with a very young and bad team. Vanbiesbrouck didn’t finish the year on Long Island. The Islanders traded him to the Devils in March 2001, and he retired after the season.

#6. Sergei Nemchinov (559 games)

Sergei Nemchinov was a Rangers 12th-round draft pick who debuted during the 1991-92 season and won the Stanley Cup with them in 1994. Despite being productive during his six seasons wearing the Blueshirt, with 225 points in 418 games, the two-way center was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in March 1997.

Nemchinov returned to the New York area when the Islanders signed him as a free agent in June 1997. In 196 games with his second New York team, he scored 70 points in 196 games before moving on to New Jersey, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2000, becoming the only skater to win a title with the Rangers and Devils.

#5. Ryan Strome (493 games)

Ryan Strome was an Islanders prospect selected as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. During four seasons with the Islanders, the center had 126 points in 258 games before a trade sent him to the Edmonton Oilers in 2017. Over a year later, he was dealt back to New York, this time joining the Rangers in November 2018.

While skating with the Blueshirts, he had his most productive seasons, reaching the 20-goal plateau once and collecting a career-best 59 points in 2019-20. Strome would depart the Rangers in 2022 as a free agent, but 75.3 percent of his career points (321) have come while wearing an Islanders or Rangers uniform.

#4. Patrick Flatley (780 games)

Patrick Flatley played his entire NHL career with the Islanders and Rangers, spending 13 seasons on Long Island and 68 games on Broadway. Although the forward just missed the dynasty years, making his debut in 1983-84, he ended up being Islanders captain from 1991 to 1996.

Flaetley’s 328 assists rank eighth in Islanders history, and he is 14th with them in points (488). Even though his time with the Rangers wasn’t as memorable, with just 22 points in 66 games, Flatley will always be a member of a select group of players who dressed for both franchises.

#3. Don Maloney (744 games)

Don Maloney is another player who spent his entire career on the East Coast, joining the Rangers as a second-round draft pick in 1978. After 11 seasons in the Big Apple, where he scored 502 points in 653 games and helped the Rangers to the 1979 Stanley Cup Final, the forward was traded to the Whalers in December 1988.

The four-time 20-goal scorer only skated in Connecticut for 21 games before returning to the Empire State as a free agent in 1989, opting to sign with the Islanders. Over the final two seasons of his NHL career, he skated in 91 games with 48 points. Maloney went on to become Islanders general manager and was the assistant GM for the Rangers.

#2. Greg Gilbert (501 games)

Greg Gilbert began his NHL career with the Islanders in 1981, right in the middle of their dynasty, capturing two Stanley Cup titles in his first two seasons. After scoring 231 points in 425 games, Gilbert was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, where he played five seasons before becoming a free agent in 1993.

Little did he know that when he agreed to a contract with the Blueshirts, he would become the only skater in NHL history to win a title with the Islanders and Rangers, helping end a 54-year championship drought on Broadway in 1994. In just one season with the Rangers, he collected 15 points in 76 games.

#1. Pat LaFontaine (597 games)

Pat LaFontaine played his entire Hall of Fame career in one state, never having to change his driver’s license. As another rookie who missed out on the Islanders’ dynasty, he debuted in 1983-84. The center was famous for ending the “Easter Epic” on April 18, 1987, with a Game 7 four-OT goal, sending the Islanders to the second round that season.

In one of the most significant transactions in franchise history, LaFontaine, a one-time 50-goal scorer and six-time 30-goal scorer, was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in October 1991. During the 1992-93 season, he collected an NHL career-best 148 points and almost won the scoring title. However, after that year, injuries, including concussions, derailed his career.

From 1993 to 1997, he played in only 127 games, which led to his trade to the Rangers in September 1997. The Hockey Hall of Famer scored 62 points in 67 games with the Rangers in 1997-98. Even though he left Long Island over 30 years ago, he remains the Islanders eighth-leading scorer with 566 points.

Some of Ryan Gagne's all-time favorite goalies have been Mike Richter, Henrik Lundqvist, and Igor Shesterkin. As a Yankees... More about Ryan Gagne

Mentioned in this article:

More About: