There’s a small, but select group of French-Canadian stars who have played for the New York Rangers
Ask a fan of the New York Rangers who was the greatest Blueshirt of all time and many will name Rod Gilbert. It’s hard to argue with that answer. He is the all-time franchise leader in goals, points and power play goals. He is first or second in every major offensive category in team history. He’s also French-Canadian, just like the next potential Rangers superstar, Alexis Lafrenière.
Lafrenière is from Saint-Eustache, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. It will be a tall order for him to overtake Gilbert in those offensive categories, but based on his potential, he has a chance.
French-Canadian stars are not plentiful in team history. Besides Gilbert, the other big name is Jean Ratelle. While there are other Quebecois who starred for the Rangers, no others did for so long and so well. Here’s a look at some of the French-Canadians who have suited up for the Rangers.
In the Rangers inaugural season of 1926-27 they were led by goalie Lorne Chabot, a native of Montreal. He was the Rangers top goalie the first two years of their existence and has been recognized as one of the top goalies of all time, winning the Vezina Trophy in 1935 with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Interestingly, the Rangers PR department labelled him Chabotsky in an effort to appeal to Jewish fans, an effort that Chabot opposed.
Also on the first Rangers team was defenseman Leo Bourgeault, born in Ontario, but of French Canadian heritage. He played five years in New York and finished his career with the Montreal Canadiens.