Monday, August 28, 2017

Jean Ratelle's #19 Retired to Rafters on Feb. 25, 2018

Jean Ratelle #19

The NY Rangers announced that Jean Ratelle will be the 9th Ranger to have his number retired by the organization. Looking back at Ratelle's career allows us to relive the organization's chronic ineptitude.

Ratelle's greatest success came with linemates Vic Hadfield (LW) and Rod Gilbert (RW) on the so-called "GAG line" (which stood for goal a game). The were together from the late 60's until 1974, when Hadfield was traded to the Pens for Nick Beverly. Beverly scored 4 goals in 139 games over 3 seasons with the Rangers. That's a goal every 35 games. Hadfield scored 31 goals for the Pens during the 1974-75 season, and 30 goals for them in 1975-76. Yet again the Rangers gave away the store.

On November 7, 1975, Jean Ratelle was traded along with defenseman Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Carol Vadnais and Phil Esposito. At the time, this was considered the biggest blockbuster trade in NHL history. Of course the trade turned out better for Boston than for New York. Ratelle and Park have several great seasons for the Bruins, while Espo declines, and Yadnis is not even close to Park. But, that's the way it always seem to go on Broadway.

Ratelle played parts of 16 seasons with the Rangers (1960-61 - 1975-76), registering 336 goals and 481 assists for 817 points, along with a plus-167 rating in 861 games. He ranks second on the Rangers' all-time goals list, ranks third on the franchise's all-time assists list and all-time points list, and ranks sixth in career games played with the Blueshirts. Ratelle and Rod Gilbert are the only players who rank third or higher on the Rangers' all-time lists for goals, assists, and points. In addition, Ratelle is one of only five players in franchise history who played in parts of 16 or more seasons with the Rangers (along with Gilbert, Harry Howell, Brian Leetch, and Ron Greschner)...
NY Rangers Legends:
Jean Ratelle is about as perfect a hockey player as there as we have ever seen. His professionalism and sportsmanship are as rare as his elite puck handling and skating skills...

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