3. Defenseman Brian Leetch
The Connecticut native was called “the greatest Ranger of all time” by Mark Messier. That statement is true.
He was the Rangers’ first round pick in the 1986 NHL draft. Leetch came onto the scene with the Rangers in the 1987-88 season. And from the very beginning there was something special about No. 2.
Whether it was his quick skating ability, or his vision on the ice (probably a mixture of both), Leetch was a deadly weapon.
He saw things that were not there, but appeared because of his quick reaction time. These were the marks of a great offensive defenseman, and Brian Leetch was just that.
He had an excellent shot as well. Leetch quaterbacked the powerplay his entire career in New York, making it was a great one. With players like Messier, Graves, and Kovalev, that man-advantage was dominating.
His play was so consistent offensively and defensively that the Blueshirts gave Leetch the “A” on his sweater, which he wore during most of his time in New York. There was a time, however, when Leetch was the captain of the Rangers. This was something he never seemed comfortable with, and when Messier came back to the Big Apple, Leetch gave it back.
But it was the person Leetch was that made him a leader. He could get the big goal to win the game, or he could also make a strong defensive play when the time was ticking. His play in the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs earned him the Conn Smythe trophy for MVP and a Stanley Cup ring.
Leetch’s No. 2 rests in the rafters of Madison Square Garden, and that absolutely solidifies his role as a leader with the New York Rangers. Leetch ranks 3rd on our list.