Top 10 List: #8 Rod Gilbert

Yesterday we presented Jaromir Jagr as the 9th greatest player to don the Rangers sweater of all time, and we’re moving right along with number 8, current Ranger fans may not of heard of him, been born for him, but those who have grown up with the Rangers for quite some time, or follow Rangers history have heard of this great man.

#8 – Rod Gilbert

Rod Gilbert (R), with linemates Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield, the “G.A.G” line. Mandatory Credit: Schulte Sports

Gilbert came to the New York Rangers after competing for the OHA (Ontario Hockey Association), during that time he produced big points, yet his career was almost cut short before it really began, due to a back injury that broke his fifth vertebrae that could of amputated his legs, during the 1959-1960 season.

He would return to play one more year for the Guelph Biltmores before heading to greener pastures and the NHL, to play with the New York Rangers.

Instantly he was a crowd favorite with the New York Rangers, scoring big goals and making big plays, but he would also have to see his career almost come to an end again in 1965-66, as a second spinal fusion surgery was required, limiting to half a season. He would return mid way through the 1966-67 season to a standing ovation, and high praise by teammates and fans that would watch him perform every night at the Garden.

It took a 4 goal game against the Montreal Canadiens during 1968 to become more of a household name. During this same time himself and linemates Vic Hadfield and Jean Ratelle would form the goal a game (G.A.G) line, where the trio would terrorize goalies throughout the late sixties and early 70s.

While he wouldn’t lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup, he would be a fan favorite and a Ranger for life. He ended up retiring as a Ranger after the 1977-78 season, and during the 1979-1980 season, would become the first Ranger to have his number retired. To this day, no one can wear the number ‘7’.

Currently he’s still active with the Rangers appearing on select alumni dates, and does the occasional MSG appearance. Still a fan favorite and respected by everyone in the organization.

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