“Save by Richter!” These were the words that announcer Sam Rosen used frequently in the 90’s during the time of Ranger legend Mike Richter. He was known for his miraculous saves and high-octane play. Richter is one of the greatest goalies to ever put on a Ranger uniform. However, if Lundqvist keeps up his string of great play and can maybe win a championship, we could have an argument on our hands.
Richter was the 28th overall pick in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. Before the 1993-94 regular season began, the organization traded veteran starter John Vanbiesbrouck to the Vancouver Canucks. This is when Richter came into the spotlight in his first season as the team’s starting goaltender. He posted a career best 42 wins and 2.57 GAA and led the Rangers to the Presidents’ Trophy. He was also named the MVP of the NHL All Star Game, which was held at Madison Square Garden that year. When the playoffs came around, that was when Richter really shined. He became the eighth goaltender in league history to post four shutouts in one postseason. The Rangers reached the Cup Finals that year and played the Vancouver Canucks. Richter’s best moment in that series came in Game 4 when he stopped Pavel Bure‘s pivotal penalty shot. They won their first Stanley Cup since 1940, defeating the Canucks in 7 games. It remains the top event in Rangers history.
Over the next few years, Richter would be consistently ranked among the world’s top goaltenders. Although injuries plagued much of his career with everything from MCL sprains, ACL sprains, and concussions. At some points they even occurred together, but he always tried his best to rehabilitate the injuries and get back to playing. Longtime teammate and Hall Of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch said this about Richter: “I have never seen anyone more focused than he was. As the game got tougher, he got better. If a goal was ever scored on him I was always surprised.”
His career came to an abrupt halt when a skull fracture and concussion forced him to retire, but not before he became the first Ranger to record 300 wins. He was truly a great player to watch either live or on television. His legacy will live on forever.
Mike Richter Career and Season by Season Stats: