Rod Gilbert
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One of the greatest Rangers of all-time passed away on Sunday.

Rod Gilbert was, arguably, the greatest skater to ever wear the New York Rangers‘ sweater. Sadly, he passed away on Sunday at the age of 80.

Gilbert played 18 years in the NHL, every one of them with the Rangers. He appeared in 1,065 games and scored 406 goals with 615 assists. He was named the winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 1976 and was a two-time all-star.


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Gilbert was the first player in Rangers’ history to have his number retired; the organization took his iconic No. 7 permanently out of circulation and put it in the rafters of Madison Square Garden on Oct. 14, 1979.

Three years later, Gilbert was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

On the day of his passing, Gilbert ranks among the Rangers’ all-time leaders in nearly every statistical category. Among all Rangers skaters ever, Gilbert ranks:

  • 3rd in games played
  • 1st in goals scored
  • 2nd in assists
  • 1st in points
  • 1st in even-strength goals
  • 2nd in power play goals
  • 1st in game-winning goals
  • 2nd in shots on net
  • 2nd in hat tricks


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“Rod Gilbert’s impact on the National Hockey League and the New York Rangers over the past 62 years was profound — both on and off the ice,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “As a player, he was revered by his teammates, respected by his opponents and absolutely beloved by Rangers’ fans. Throughout his 18 NHL seasons, all with the Rangers, he was among the greatest offensive players of his era and truly entertained fans across the League on a nightly basis.

“His contributions to the game were appropriately recognized with hockey’s highest individual honor — induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982. Rod’s impact on our game was equaled, if not surpassed, in his retirement. For 32 years, he was one of the greatest ambassadors that our League has seen in its 104-year history. The time that he devoted to countless charitable causes and the passion that he brought to every interaction with hockey fans at not only Madison Square Garden but across the NHL was both incredible and inspiring.”


Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.