Bull Dog Line’s Best of Series: Defensemen Edition

Finding 10 Ranger goalies to make the list was difficult, but with the defenseman, the difficulty was trimming the list down to 10. So here they are, the 10 best Ranger Dmen of my time.

  1. Sergei Zubov, and Dave Maloney.

I thought about not putting Zubov on the list. He only played in 165 games as a Ranger, but he was just too good a player during that time to leave out. Zubov had 156 pts in those 165 games, including his being the leading scorer (89 pts) of the ’94 team. An excellent puck mover with great vision and instincts, Zubov was traded away in an awful trade, because his coach held a ridiculous grudge. [Editor’s note: I would have had Zubov much higher on this list]

Maloney was a heart and soul Ranger. The youngest captain in franchise history. Dave played in 650 games as a Ranger. The fun STAT with Maloney were his penalty minutes. 1,113 in his career as a Ranger. Not much of a fighter, but he seemed to find his way to the box.

  1. Jeff Buekeboom.

Buekeboom was the type of Dman that we wish the Rangers had right now. Rugged, physical, cleared the crease, and protected his teammates. He rode shot gun for Brian Leetch. Jeff played in 520 games as a Ranger, and amassed 1,157 penalty minutes. 1994 Cup champion.

  1. Barry Beck.

Beck’s Ranger career was wrecked by shoulder injuries. The most famous was the 1984 game 4 hit by Patrick Flatly of the Islanders. When healthy, Beck was a beast. Physical on D, with a very good offensive game, Beck scored 66 goals and had 239 points in his 415 games as a Ranger.

  1. Dan Girardi.

I wrestled with this one a bit. Did Girardi belong on the list? And if so, where? I settled at 7. How could the number one right side Dman, during a great era of Ranger hockey, be left off the list? Girardi goes against every top forward in the game, and does a terrific job of holding them down. 770 games with the Rangers as an un-drafted FA. He is an original Black, and Blueshirt. While his game has slipped in the past couple of seasons, he has recovered somewhat this season.

  1. Marc Staal.

When I first saw Staal play, I thought to myself, Larry Robinson. Those long strides while carrying the puck, and the size, had me thinking stud Dman. He just needed to add some nasty to his game. None of that happened. It wasn’t too long ago that I was hoping the Rangers would trade this disappointment. But the more I watched Staal, the more I appreciated his game. Very good with the stick, and excellent at getting body position, and at his best when the game is nasty. Staal has shown there is more than one way to be a shutdown Dman. A career Ranger, with 657 games under his belt.

  1. Ryan McDonagh.

The Rangers captain was stolen from the Montreal Canadiens, for Scot Gomez, and no Scot Gomez. Powerful skater, strong defender; he is matched up against the top lines of every team. Still manages to contribute offensively with 198 points in 438 games. McDonagh has underrated toughness, as seen in the 2015 playoffs, as he played with a broken foot.

  1. James Patrick.

In my view, Patrick is a very underrated Ranger. A tremendous skater, Patrick was as fast backwards as a lot guys were forwards. An offensive defenseman, Patrick had 467 points in his 671 games as a Ranger. He was traded during the ’94 season in a deal that involved Steve Larmer. Keenan was not a fan, and Patrick had become redundant with the emergence of Sergie Zubov.

  1. Ron Greschner.

Greschner, in my view, is an all time Ranger. 982 games played, and 610 points. “Young Greschner” was a slow skater, but had a knack for slowing everybody on the opposition down so that he looked faster. A great stick handler, Greschner also had a tough side to him. He was a very willing fighter. Injuries were a big part of Greschner’s career. I would guess he missed well over 100 games in career due to injury. An all time great Ranger, and one of my favorites.

  1. Brad Park.

The second best Dman in the league many years behind Bobby Orr. Park was an all aroundΒ  Dman, with a lot of offense in his game. 465 games played for the Rangers, and 378 points. Traded to the hated Bruins, in a trade, that at the time made a lot of Ranger fans sick. He was also not afraid to drop the gloves, and would often drop them against Philly.

  1. Brian Leetch.

The greatest drafted Ranger player. I would argue that he is simply the greatest Ranger ever. 1,129 games, and 981 points as a Ranger. The bigger the stakes, the bigger Leetch played. Rookie of the year, two time Norris trophy winner, and the Conn Smyth trophy in 1994. Stanley Cup champion. My personal favorite game of Leetch was in the second round of the ’95 playoffs. Game two against Philly. It was the most dominant game I have ever seen him play. He scored a hat trick, and was all over the place. They lost the game 4-3 in OT, but I remember shaking my head at how good he was. In a 33 playoff game stretch that covered the ’94 and ’95 playoffs, Leetch scored 17 goals and had 48 points! During his Ranger career, his teammates included Guy LaFleur, Marcel Dionne, Mark Messier, and Wayne Gretzky.

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125 thoughts on “Bull Dog Line’s Best of Series: Defensemen Edition”

  1. Sorry bulldog, but I can’t take any Ranger list seriously that doesn’t include Tom Poti.

    Poti was an offensive force and the greatest shutdown D man in ranger history. Opposing players never went anywhere near the crease when Poti was patrolling the D zone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. But where is strudwick, or ndur, or purinton, or brad brown, or reitz, or featherstone?

    And mon dieu, how is Brady skjel not on that list? Just ask 90% of the current posters here, he should be 1B next to leetch.

    Like

  3. Good morning, boneheads!
    Very nice, BDL! I love the fact that you included Girardi on that list. Yes, his game deteriorated, and yes, they have to buy him out. But you can’t deny him of what he means to this organization, and what he had to pay to make this team strong over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As i mentioned, Patrick was a very underrated Ranger, and I think you (RR2) are underrating him now. Patrick should be at 4. 5 through 10 you can shuffle.

    Like

  5. I don’t think I am underrating him. I think you’ve underrated McDonagh and Zubov. I think those three are all really close, but the drop from Patrick to Beuk (on my list) is pretty significant.

    I also heavily weigh playoff performance and Patrick was an underperformer.

    Like

  6. Could you guys imagine what a skater/player like Brian Leetch (in particular) would be like in today’s NHL?

    He’s got Crosby-level skills, imo.

    Like

  7. I know he has scored far prettier goals,
    But I still get verklempt and goosebumps when I even THINK of Leetch’s goal πŸ₯… shortside in Game 7, 1994…

    My God.

    Like

  8. What no Roman Ndur or Rich Pilon?

    Bergevin has been waiting for two year for the Bs to fire Julien. Other than win the Cup there”s nothing Therrien could have done to save his job once Julien was available. Maybe they will dive less now.

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  9. Nice job again, BDL. 71 points in 91-92 for Patrick. Overlooked that season as Leetch had 102 points and pretty under rated in his time here. Another guy who I wish could have gotten his name on the Cup in ’94.

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  10. Great list and I can’t quibble. I would have found a spot for Rexy. May over Girardi who I’ve always felt was a bit overrated. I agree on Patrick and zubov

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  11. From a talent perspective Zubov belongs higher but agree his lack of games in a NYR sweater drops him lower on list.
    .
    Girardi should be on the list, no doubt. Agree Reijo and Vadnais are honorable mention.
    .
    Tinordi? Faulk? Driver? Ozolinsh? Startling omissions…

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  12. I was referring to Leetch’s goal in the SCF.

    As I said, it wasn’t a highlight goal, but it’s the one that gives me goosebumps to this very day.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Doodie
    That whole mtl situation is interesting to me. I’m pretty sure it was a player motivated coup against Michel led by price (starting with the state down incident).

    Re gally…I’d trade step in a heartbeat for him or duchene.

    Like

  14. Jeep is Lindy Ruff’s assistant coach in Dallas – followed him from Buffalo.

    Why would you pair Rexi with McDonagh? The Captain would be dead after a couple of games covering up for Reijo. Rexi was a “defenseman” in name only. I remember when the Rangers tried moving him to RW.

    CCCP is right about Gresch being out there on Facebook – very right wing. Then again, losing Carol Alt will do that to ya! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Habs would never deal Galchenyuk for Stepan. Duchene may be Ontario born, but he sounds French-Canadian so Bergevin can trade for him.

    BTW, no love for Willie Huber?!? I remember making a Fan Club trip to the Rangers play the Pens the night Huber nailed Mario (I think Huber must have stumbled and tried to use Mario to prop himself up :-)). That night, while enjoying a few Iron Citys with the pens Fan Club, we got to see the sport story where the sports guy referred to Huber as a “Rangers goon”.

    Like

  16. Coos

    I don’t care about Greschner’s politics. It’s the way he tells his *fans*, ppl who admired him.since childhood to go puck themselves and calls them all kinds of names just because they might not share his point of view. That’s low.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Carp, thanks for tweeting the link to Hirsch’s story. The more light shed on mental illness and the struggles those who suffer from it go through the better.

    Like

  18. When Ruotsalainen got here he spoke zero English. So they taught him two things right away:

    “Roast beef sandwich” which became his dinner every single night for a long time.

    and “Help, Bubba” for whenever he was in trouble on the ice.

    I remember the night Herb Brooks put him on a forward line with Pavelich and either Hedberg or McClanahan in little Boston Garden. Drove the big bad Bruins up a wall.

    Like

  19. BDL, thank you for the time and effort you put into these. Totally digging it.

    Honestly, all of youse add so much to me being a Ranger fan, and my enjoyment of said fandom.

    Like

  20. That Corey Hirsch article had my jaw wide open and often saying “Oh my God”. I would imagine being a goalie probably fed his OCD because of the pressure and self-doubt a professional must feel. Heck, I was a Thursday night warrior in pickup games at Rye waaay back in the day and i used to relieve every goal against. I can’t even imagine what must go through the mind of someone who does it for a living.

    Like

  21. I never saw Harry Howell either, but one quote from him always stuck in my head. After winning the Norris Trophy in 1967 he said, “I might as well enjoy it now, because I expect it’s going to belong to Bobby Orr from now on.” Orr’s string of eight in a row was ended by injury and some guy named Potvin in 1976.

    Like

  22. Julien gets 5 years 5 mill per from Le Herbs making him 3rd highest paid coach in the league behind Quenville and Babcock.

    Julien should call and thank Babcock for that.

    Like

  23. Per my comment last week, Spurgeon cross checks Nyquist in the kidneys with malice which is commonplace and turns around to retaliate. If they call the first penalty, the second never happens. Can’t understand why the refs let that cheap arse chicken crappe play go when guys are unprotected on the boards.

    Like

  24. Heartbreaking article by Corey Hirsch.
    OCD- isn’t treatable. Preventable? There is a debate. Remember these times when your toddlers made a big mess while eating their food at a table? Start with sitting on your hands.

    Like

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