What happened on March 21 in the history of the New York Rangers
On this date in 1994, the New York Rangers made a series of trades that changed the fate of the 1993-94 teams and played a huge part in ending the team’s Stanley Cup drought. In three deals the Rangers acquired Craig MacTavish, Glenn Anderson, Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan. All of them played a key role in the Rangers run to the Stanley Cup championship.
The 2021-22 version of the Rangers can only hope that the trades they made on this date will have the same result.
In the first deal the Rangers sent Tony Amonte to the Chicago Blackhawks in exhange for Matteau and Noonan. Both players had played for Rangers coach Mike Keenan when he was behind the bench in Chicago and he wanted them for their size and grit. He was not enamored of Tony Amonte who had only scored 84 goals in 234 games in New York.
The second trade was Mike Gartner to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Anderson, a proven Stanley Cup winner with the Oilers and a former teammate of Mark Messier, Adam Graves, Esa Tikkanen, Jeff Beukeboom and Kevin Lowe. Gartner was another big time scorer who was regarded as a playoff failure by Keenan.
The last deal was for another Oiler as the Rangers sent Todd Marchant to Edmonton for Craig MacTavish. Keenan was willing to trade a promising 20 year old in Marchant for MacTavish who was a proven Cup winner and excellent on faceoffs.
We all know how this story ended. Anderson scored three playoffs goals, Matteau won two games in overtime, Noonan brought the muscle to the lineup that Keenan wanted and MacTavish won the most famous faceoff in franchise history.
What did they give up? Between Amonte, Gartner and Marchant, they played 1,435 games for the teams they were traded to, scoring 457 goals and 970 points. In the playoffs they played 112 games scoring 31 goals and 58 points.
The four players the Rangers got ended up playing 166 regular season games as Rangers, scoring 37 goals and 64 points. They added 105 playoff games, scoring 14 goals and 32 points.
The moral of the story is that mortgaging the future only works if you win the Cup.
So close to an Art Ross Trophy
Of all of the trophies awarded by the NHL, there is one trophy that has been around since the 1940’s that no New York Ranger has ever won. It’s the Art Ross Trophy present to the top scorer in the NHL.
Bill Cook and Bryan Hextall led the NHL in scoring, but that was before the league starting handing out the Art Ross Trophy. Ironically, they came the closest to winning it in the first year, 1947-48.
In 1948 on this date, the Rangers played their last game of the season. Ranger center Buddy O’Connor came into the game with 60 points and the league lead, one over Elmer Lach of the Montreal Canadiens. The Black Hawks kept O’Connor off the scoresheet in a 4-3 Chicago win. In Boston, Lach scored two goals to sneak by O’Connor and win the scoring title.
Though he lost the scoring title, O’Connor did win the Hart Trophy as MVP and he got some satisfaction that even though Lach scored, the Canadiens lost and missed the playoffs. It was the only time in 29 years that Montreal would miss the postseason.
Turcotte’s special streak
On this date in 1990, With two assists against Toronto, Darren Turcotte had two assists against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He became the second rookie in NHL history to have multiple assist games in four straight games.
Turcotte started the streak on March 14 in Toronto, then added two assists games on Long Island and at the Garden against Vancouver and the Maple Leafs again. He had three goals and eight assists for 11 points in the four games.
The first NHL player to accomplish the feat had been Pat LaFontaine who did it in 1984-85 for the Islanders. And yes, both Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux were not able to accomplish the feat in their rookie years
A crushing loss
On this date in 1939 the Rangers suffered a crushing 2-1 loss to the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The game was in the third overtime when Bruins rookie Rookie Mel Hill scored at 59:25 of OT. The goal shocked the Madison Square Garden crowd, coming with only 35 seconds left in the overtime period. The Bruins would go on to win the series in seven game and the Stanley Cup in five games over the Maple Leafs.
The Rangers would get their revenge the next season, beating the Bruins en route to winning their third Stanley Cup.
24 NHL players were born on this date. Three were Rangers including one former captain.
Ryan Callahan was born on this date in 1985 in Rochester, New York. A fourth round draft pick in 2004, Callahan made it to New York in 2007 and became a regular for seven seasons, being named captain in 2011, succeeding Chris Drury. Known as a player who sacrifice his body, Callahn scored over 20 goals three times for the Blueshirts. In need of a new contract, he was traded in a swap of team captains to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Martin St. Louis in 2014. Often injured in Tampa, Callahan was forced to retire in 2019 due to back issues.
Boris Mironov was born on this date in 1972 in Moscow, USSR. A solid defenseman, he spent 11 years patrolling the blue line for Edmonton and Chicago before he was traded go the Rangers for a draft pick in January 2003. He played the remainder of that season and the next in New York before returning to Russia.
Jim Jamieson was a defenseman who played one game in the NHL for the Rangers in the 1943-44 season. He was born on this date in 1922 in Brantford, Ontario. He did get an assist in his one game. Of the 47 players who played only one regular season game for the Rangers, he is one of eight who finished their Blueshirts careers with a 1.00 points per game record.
A sub .500 record on this date in the regular season and only one win in four playoff games on March 21.
Regulation wins: 12
Regulation losses: 18
Overtime wins: 1
Overtime losses: 3
Shootout wins: 1
Shootout losses: 1
Points percentage: .450
Playoffs games: 4
Overtime wins: 1
Overtime losses: 1
Winning percentage: 24%