The New York Rangers have boasted some exceptional goaltenders in their storied history. Here are my top 5
#1 Henrik Lundqvist
He owns every major goaltending record in franchise history. He doesn’t own a Stanley Cup ring, as Martin Brodeur has whined approximately 1,994 times since the Swedish-born backstop earned the moniker “The King.” I’m pretty sure Hank didn’t have Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, and Scott Niedermeyer playing in front of him, Marty.
#2 Mike Richter
He’s the franchise’s only netminder to earn a Stanley Cup ring in the past eight decades. He led the team in career wins before Lundqvist passed him. The question is, what kind of numbers might Richter have put up if not for all his injuries? We’ll never know, but he’s No. 2 here because he wasn’t as durable as Hank, who also didn’t enjoy the benefit of playing behind Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, and Adam Graves in their primes.
#3 Eddie Giacomin
He was the franchise’s first Vezina Trophy winner in 30 years, sharing it with teammate Gilles Villemure, since Dave Kerr in 1940. He was an iron man in his early years in New York, leading the league in games played four straight years and the most wins in three of those years. He’s third in career wins, second in career shutouts and fourth in total saves.
The only reasons Eddie and his 1972 Rangers teammates don’t have Stanley Cup rings are because of No. 4, Bobby Orr and Jean Ratelle’s broken ankle.
#4 John Vanbiesbrouck
The Beezer is just one of five goalies to win at least 200 games for the franchise. His heroics in the 1986 Conference Finals nearly helped the Rangers pull off an upset of the Montreal Canadiens, who would go on to beat the Calgary Flames in the Finals. He was the only Rangers to win the Vezina Trophy (1986) between Giacomin/Villemure (1971) and Lundqvist (2012).
In 1993 the Rangers had to decide between Vanbiesbrouck and Richter, choosing the latter. After leaving New York, the Beezer led the expansion Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final in 1996.
#5 Gump Worsley
Yes, Chuck Rayner backstopped the Blueshirts to a surprise appearance in the 1950 Finals. But Worsley also has second best save percentage in franchise history (.913), won 204 games, posted 24 shutouts, and stopped nearly 15,000 shots in 581 appearances for mostly God-awful Rangers squads. Little wonder that when asked by reporters which team gave him the most trouble, Worsley, still with the Blueshirts, quipped: “The Rangers.”
There are a few other legendary names in Ranger lore like Chuck Raynor, John Ross Roach and Dave Kerr. Feel free to weigh in with your choices or the order of your own top five.