I know some of you thought after reading this title that there would be some hair/glam rock that would follow, but the wingers BDL is discussing today are the men who played along the walls from the mid 70s through the present.
We have one more post of BDL’s for the centers, and then some gems from Bonehead favorite George Grimm. Also, I could use volunteers for game reviews pretty much every single night that they play.
And now, here’s BDL’s wingers. Spoiler: he and I had some significant disagreement on this one, particularly for Gartner and Kovalev:
I was originally going to do a top 10 for both RWs, and LWs, but after discussing it a bit with RR2, I decided to combine the wings. The RWs were a much stronger group than the LWs. Coming up with 10 LWs was a bit of a stretch. So here is my combo of top 12 wingers.
- Mike Gartner.
Gartner was a goal scorer. Plain and simple. 3 seasons of 40 or more goals as a Ranger, and the season he was traded, he had 28. 332 games as a Ranger, with 173 goals.
- Ryan Callahan.
No, I have not forgiven him, but he does belong on the list. 132 goals in 450 games, but that’s not what he was about. Callahan was an original Black and Blueshirt. Finished every check. Never met a shot he wouldn’t block. Former Ranger Captain. To this day it’s makes me sad, and angry that he is not a Ranger for life.
- Bill Fairbairn.
Can’t have this list without including a member of the Bull Dog Line. Great on the PK. Very good defensively and he could score. 138 goals in 536 games as a Ranger; 4 seasons of 20 or more goals.
- Alexei Kovalev.
A favorite of mine. Never became what he should have, but was still mighty good. 492 games over two stints as a Ranger with 142 goals. A very good playoff performer. Cup champion.
- Tomas Sandstrom.
A rat. He would thrive in today’s NHL, as they now protect the perp. Sandstrom played on the edge. 407 games as a Ranger. 5 seasons of 20 or more goals, and a 40-goal season in 1987.
- Steve Vickers.
Another favorite of mine. His number 8 was the first jersey I owned. 6 seasons of 20 or more goals, and the 1973 “Rookie of the Year”. Vickers did most of his work right on top of the crease. Could drop the gloves when needed; was a feared fighter early in his career. 698 games, 246 goals.
- Anders Hedberg.
He is probably the best two-way Ranger forward that I have seen. Came over as an FA from the WHA before the ’78/’79 season. 6 seasons of 20 or more goals, and three 30-goal seasons. 465 games, 172 goals.
- Don Maloney.
Lived in the corners. Another strong two-way player. 653 games; 195 goals as a Ranger. Was called up with a little over 20 games to go in the 1979 regular season. Ended up being the leading playoff scorer during their magical playoff run.
- Jaromir Jagr.
I struggled a bit with Jagr. Not if, but where on the list. Jagr only played 277 games as a Ranger, but without Jagr, the Rangers would not be where they are today. Along with Lunqvist, he brought the Rangers out of the dark ages. A 54-goal season. 124 goals in his 277 games, and a Ranger Captain.
- Vic Hadfield.
839 games as a Ranger. 262 goals. And 572 points. Hadfield was a rugged mean SOB. 1,036 PIMs. You can bet they weren’t for tripping and hooking. Hadfield was a main combatant in the famous brawl against the Leaves in 1971. The brawl in which Bernie Parent’s mask ended up in the blue seats, and then out of the Garden. My favorite photo in the Ranger yearbooks I’ve collected, was a picture of Vic’s 50th. He was the first Ranger to get 50 goals in a season. The LW on the GAG line. Ranger Captain.
- Adam Graves.
There isn’t much I can say about Graves that hasn’t already been said. A couple of things did surprise me when looking back at his career. He played 772 games as a Ranger. I didn’t realize it was that many. We all remember the 52-goal season in ’94. Graves also had 9 seasons of 20 or more goals, and three 30-goal seasons. One of my favorite memories of Graves was in a game against the Caps. The Caps had this little rat named Kaminski, I think. This rat was running around taking liberties with Leetch. Graves had had enough. Grabbed the rat, and just beat the snot out of him. Ah, the old days
1.. Rod Gilbert.
1,065 games as a Ranger. 406 goals, and 1,021 points. Gilbert was a career Blueshirt. RW on the GAG line. Gilbert’s bread and butter was the slap shot coming down the wing. Was not afraid to go to the dirty areas to score. Beautiful skater. Quick story. A couple of seasons after Gilbert retired, I was at the Garden with my brother. I am a little embarrassed to say I was in the Red seats ( my brother’s company seats). Right after the anthem, guess who sits right next to me? Rod Gilbert. Needless to say, I froze. I could not get two words out. Gilbert nodded and smiled at me, but the best I could do was mumble incoherently. Still one of my fondest memories, even though I choked in the clutch.