Top candidates for award named in honor of Rangers great

NHL: Dallas Stars at New York Rangers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

As the regular season begins to wind down, yearly team awards for the New York Rangers are soon to be handed out. Of those yearly honors is the Rod Gilbert Mr. Ranger Award, which was created after Gilbert’s death in August 2021.

The award commemorates one of the greatest players and team ambassadors in Rangers history. Gilbert played his entire 18-season NHL career with the Rangers from 1960-78. Following his retirement, Gilbert’s No. 7 was raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters in October 1979 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

Gilbert is the Blueshirts’ all-time leader in goals (406) and points (1,021) in 1,065 games. He was an upbeat, positive ambassador for the organization after retiring as a player.

He earned the nickname “Mr. Ranger” and set the standard of what it meant to properly represent the team. The award goes to the player “who best honors Rod’s legacy by exemplifying leadership qualities both on and off the ice, and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.”

Chris Kreider was the first recipient of the award in 2021-22, followed by Jacob Trouba in 2022-23. This year, there are several Rangers who could potentially receive the honor.

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Top Rangers candidates for award named in honor of Rod Gilbert

NHL: Dallas Stars at New York Rangers
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick has had an outstanding season for the Rangers thus far. The 38-year-old goalie has posted a 17-5-2 record, .913 save percentage and 2.54 goals-against average. He also just set the record for the most wins by a United States-born goaltender in NHL history with his victory over the Arizona Coyotes on March 30.

Aside from his stellar play, Quick has brought a veteran presence to New York’s locker room and has been a great leader for his favorite childhood team.

“He stands for everything being done the right way,” explained Peter Laviolette. “How you live your life, how you practice, how you play, what you say. He’s a great example for everybody.”

Quick has certainly been one of the team’s best leaders on and off the ice, and is setting an example of what it means to be a Ranger.

Jacob Trouba

It is hard to talk about an award given to someone with outstanding leadership qualities without mentioning the Rangers captain. Jacob Trouba has once again been a strong leader for New York throughout the season. After earning the Mr. Ranger award last season, he is certainly in the running to do it again.

Trouba’s contributions off the ice and within the community have been very notable this year. Through the use of his unique artwork, Trouba was able to make a $100,000 donation to the Garden of Dreams Foundation, which he is now partnered with. The donation helps enrich young people within the community. This humanitarian side of the Rangers captain combined with his on ice leadership could very well earn him his second consecutive Mr. Ranger award.

Vincent Trocheck

In his second season with the Rangers, Vincent Trocheck has fit in very nicely. On the ice, he is having one of the best seasons as he currently sits tied with his NHL career high in points (75) And was selected to to play in the NHL All-Star Game. He has stepped his game up to another level and has centered one of the best lines in the NHL with Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafreniere.

Off the ice, he has also shown how he has brought the team together, focusing on the family aspect. Over the past two years, Trocheck makes it a point to host a team dinner when New York travels to Pittsburgh. His grandmother cooks for the whole team, bringing everyone together for a family meal.

Trocheck has always valued family, and has helped out with the Junior Rangers program, which his son Leo also takes part in. He has certainly exemplified what it means to be a Ranger, both on and off the ice.

Chris Kreider

After having won the inaugural Mr. Ranger award, Chris Kreider is most definitely deserving of the title once again. On the ice, he has 68 points, just nine shy of his career-best. In his 12th season as a Ranger, he is still playing at the top of his game. Similar to Gilbert, Kreider is and always has been a New York Ranger through and through.

After Kreider received the award in 2022, general manager Chris Drury mentioned, “Chris has consistently and willingly devoted his time and efforts to charitable endeavors, especially through the Garden of Dreams Foundation. Chris’ contributions in the community exemplify the kindness and generosity that Rod demonstrated throughout his life.”

This, combined with his leadership and dedication to the Rangers, puts Kreider in the conversation for the Mr. Ranger award on a yearly basis.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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