The 10 best trades in the history of the New York Rangers

Canadian professional hockey player Mark Messier of the New York Rangers hoists the Stanley Cup championship award trophy over his head as teammates American Brian Noonan (#16) and Canadian Glenn Healy (#30) look on during the opening night of the 1995 NHL season, Madison Square Garden, New York, January 20, 1995. The 1994-95 Season was shortened to the 1995 Season because of a lockout in Fall 1994. The Rangers opening game was against the Buffalo Sabres and they lost 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
Canadian professional hockey player Mark Messier of the New York Rangers hoists the Stanley Cup championship award trophy over his head as teammates American Brian Noonan (#16) and Canadian Glenn Healy (#30) look on during the opening night of the 1995 NHL season, Madison Square Garden, New York, January 20, 1995. The 1994-95 Season was shortened to the 1995 Season because of a lockout in Fall 1994. The Rangers opening game was against the Buffalo Sabres and they lost 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images) /
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15 Oct 1993: Rightwinger Mike Gartner of the New York Rangers (right) works against the Buffalo Sabres during a game at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
15 Oct 1993: Rightwinger Mike Gartner of the New York Rangers (right) works against the Buffalo Sabres during a game at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport /

#8 Right wing Mike Gartner acquired from Minnesota for Ulf Dahlen and a 1990 4th round draft pick

March 6, 1990

Mike Gartner is one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history. He holds NHL records for most consecutive 30-goal seasons (tied with Jaromir Jagr at 15) and the most 30-goal seasons (17). He is one of seven NHL players to score over 700 goals in a career. After starring for 10 seasons in Washington, he had been traded to the North Stars for Dino Ciccarelli.

In his second season in Minnesota, the Rangers dangled former first round pick Ulf Dahlen as trade bait. Dahlen had been the 7th overall pick in the 1985 draft and had scored 29 and 24 goals in his first two season in New York. The North Stars went with youth over stardom, swapping the 30-year old Gartner to New York for a 23-year old oozing potential. The Stars got a draft pick as well, but the player they selected with it never made it to the NHL.

This was a trade that worked out well for both teams.

Gartner went on to play almost five full seasons with the Rangers, averaging over 40 goals per season. He narrowly missed becoming the second Ranger to score 50 goals when he finished with 49 goals in 1991. Dahlen had an excellent NHL career, scoring 301 goals in 966 games over 14 seasons.

As great a player as he was, Gartner never made a post-season all-star team or won an award.  He also never won a Stanley Cup or played in a Final. Even more frustrating for him was that he lost out on his greatest chance to win a Cup when he was traded to Toronto for Glenn Anderson in March 1994.

Saddled with the reputation of not being a playoff “winner,” the Rangers traded a man who was one of the team’s greatest goal scorers for Anderson who played all of 12 regular season and 23 playoff games for the Rangers, scoring seven goals and five assists. To this day, Anderson gets a standing ovation when he returns to MSG while Gartner’s achievements are overlooked.