The Greatest European Rangers: part 2

July 22, 2012, by

During the first post discussing the best European Rangers of all time we discussed a couple of Scandinavian wingers, and the great Jaromir Jagr. We also discussed a certain Swedish goalie that may well end up as the greatest Ranger ever, period. Let’s take a look at a few more great Europeans who lit up Broadway.

Sergei Zubov

I’m old enough to remember Zubov traded and for many Rangers fans it’s still a painful memory. Zubov won a Cup in New York – as a home grown Ranger – and was a dynamic offensive weapon and for those reasons Zubov’s Ranger tenure should be fondly remembered. People forget that during the cup winning season of 1994 Zubov led the Rangers in scoring during the regular season with 89 points, an unthinkable total for a blueliner today. An in-his-prime Zubov would command obscene amounts of dollars from clubs in the current NHL era.

You could make a valid argument that 165 games as a Ranger isn’t enough to be in this discussion but when you average almost a point/game as a blueliner (156 points/165 games) in the regular season and grab 30 in 32 playoff games, including 19 in 22 during the Cup season, the impact is undeniable. Another draft steal (5th round, 1990), his trade to Pittsburgh still hurts.

Marian Gaborik

Just because he’s injury prone and just because he’s a current Ranger doesn’t mean he shouldn’t come in to the equation. The Slovakian winger already has made an impact as a Ranger with two 40 goal seasons in 3 years, which gives Gaborik two of the best goal scoring seasons in Rangers history. With 210 points in 220 games as a Ranger Gaborik has been a successful free agent signing even if individual playoff success still somewhat eludes him.

Gaborik’s skill set and skating ability electrify fans and with the one of the most productive (individual) seasons in Rangers history he has already made his mark on the franchise. Despite all this Gaborik hasn’t convinced the entire (sometimes fickle) Ranger fan base, but with a couple years left on his deal there’s plenty of time for Gaborik to cement his place as a Ranger great. Where would Gaborik rank in the discussion if he had another two 40 goal seasons?

Reijo Ruotsalainen

The small Finnish defenseman was the first Fin to suit up for the Rangers and had a spectacular spell with New York, culminating with an All Star nod when selection to the mid season classic actually meant something. Ruotsalainen exploded on to the scene in New York with 18 goals and 38 assists during a quality rookie year. Unfortunately, he was tempted back to Europe a few times in his career, something that prompted the Rangers to trade him away to Edmonton where he went on to win two Stanley Cups either side of one of his returns to European hockey.

Ruotsalainen was another draft steal by the Rangers as a sixth rounder who led the Rangers in scoring one year with 73 points and amassed 316 points in just 389 games as a blueliner. Had the Talented, but undersized fin not been prone to returning to Europe his NHL numbers would probably look a lot more impressive. Ruotsalainen only appeared in a total of 446 regular season games. Ruotsalainen was one of the best, least talked about Ranger blueliners, perhaps in part because he played on some average Ranger teams such as the ’85 team that won just 26 games.

Check back next week for a few more European Rangers that belong in the discussion of Europe’s Greatest Ranger

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  1. Walt says:

    Zubov still hurts, and will always hurt. He had some shot from the point, and along side Leetch, we had two great PP d-men, probably in the history of the NHL! To be sent to the Pens, what a poor move, especially for an over the hill Ulf Samulsson. That was a desperation move on the part of the GM.

    Reijo was terrific, but because of his size, he was man handeled by the bigger forwards in the game. Excellent skater, great shot, bu was weak defensivly. Mayby because the entire team was weak then, that it seemed to jump out at you.

    I am a fan of Gabby, and I believe he is, was, and always will be considered a good FA signing. In time a lot of the fans will come around to my way of thinking!

    • PAL says:

      Agree 100%. Zubov and Leetch were killer on the power play. The great “what if” of the 90’s: what if they were able to play together for another 5 or more years for the NYR? Trading Zubov definitely still hurts.

  2. mark says:

    Reijo could have been great. What a shot he had and i think he played with Beck which meant two big shots from the point. Trading Zubov was one of the biggest mistakes IN Rangers history. NOt quite as bad as trading Middleton for Hodge but right up there.

  3. Scully says:

    Keep in mind that the Rangers didn’t trade Zubov for Samuelsson straight up… Nedved went to Pittsburgh and Luc Robitaille came back. Robitaille was supposed to be more of the key to the deal. Of course, Colin Campbell didn’t use him properly for the 2 years he was here and all he did was go on to win a cup in Detroit and continue to pile up 30 goal seasons in Detroit and LA. His 2 years in NYC where the worst 2 years of his career.

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I loved Reijo as well and yes he played with Bubba. They were the Beueke and Leetch of their era. My all time Ranger team has the 4 Dmen I just mentioned on it. He was so much fun to watch. By far my favorite European player to Don a Ranger Jersey. Zubov had a short tenure and hard to rate him as a Ranger. He is more a Dallas Star than a Ranger and sadly. Another example of how trades can effect a team. And here we are people still wanting to make the same mistakes all over again

    What will we hear if say Del Zotto and Stepan are traded for Nash, Oh man what a mistake to trade MDZ and Stepan

  5. Leatherneckinlv says:

    On another note, I wish brooksie would retire. I am so fed up of his style of reporting. He is irresponsible and a hypocrite. One day he say this and the next he says that. He has 0 credibility with me and in fact I detest his journalism.

    Now he says both Nash and Doan are in play not just one or the other…comical

    • Walt says:

      I think he writes crap to impress himself! I agree with you, one day it’s this, the next day it’s that. He is full of garbage, and that is putting it mildly!!!!!

      • Chris says:

        He has a very inflated opinion of himself, but he must have sources to keep that job for 15 years! Even if his writing style is blunt. That said, Nash AND Doan? You’d do it if you could…..

        • Leatherneckinlv says:

          Not for the price on Nash and not if the Doan deal is more than 1 year…I prefer us making news next year…I hear Clowe is a UFA…Edler, Perry, Getzlaf are UFA’s …and Lucic is an RFA

          • Chris says:

            My friend is a big sharks fan, if what he says is true we should go nowhere near Clowe. Apparently he’s lazy, uninterested and very overrated. I’m pretty sure Edler is not a UFA but yes, the other would be nice adds. Although no way do Ducks let Perry and Getzlaf get to free agency. Getzlaf will be traded prior, if anything