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Comparing current Rangers to the Cup-winning ’94 version

Feb 16, 2012, 8:30 AM EDT

NBC Sports Talk posed an interesting question last night: how do current New York Rangers compare to the Stanley Cup-winning 1993-94 version? Before PHT goes a little deeper with this, here’s the video of that discussion.

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(Henrik Lundqvist isn’t a money goalie? I dunno … he did kinda win a gold medal in one of the few instances in which he had a truly elite team in front of him. Just saying.)

Anyway, that video touched on Mark Messier and intangible type stuff, but I thought it would be more fun to take a quick-and-dirty comparison between the two.

source: AP1993-94 New York Rangers

Record: 52-24-8 for 112 points; first overall in the Atlantic Division; Goals For: 299 (fourth overall); Goals Against: 231 (third overall); PP%: 23.02 (96 goals); PK%: 84.6 (67 allowed); 20 shorthanded goals for, five against

Leading scorers: Sergei Zubov (89 points), Mark Messier (84), Adam Graves and Brian Leetch (79)

Goalies: Mike Richter (42-11-6 in 68 GP; .910 save percentage and 2.57 GAA with five shutouts) and Glenn Healy (10-12-2 for .878 save percentage, 3.03 GAA and two shutouts)

To help correct for the different scoring paces of the times, Richter’s save percentage was eight overall, his GAA ranked fifth among goalies and he was an All-Star in 93-94.

2011-12 New York Rangers

source: APRecord: 37-13-5 for 79 points; first overall in Atlantic Division; Goals For: 156 (12th overall); Goals Against: 110 (first overall); PP%: 14.81 (28); PK%: 87.15 (23); seven shorthanded goals for and three against

Leading scorers: Marian Gaborik (49), Ryan Callahan (42), Brad Richards (39) and Derek Stepan (37).

Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist (27-11-4 with a .941 save percentage, 1.77 GAA and seven shutouts) and Martin Biron (10-2-1 with a .919 save percentage with a 2.03 GAA and two shutouts).

Similarities: The teams certainly share some common traits. The ’94 Rangers had a coach who liked to yell at people (Mike Keenan) and the current version certainly does (John Tortorella). Both teams have an All-Star goalie and fairly balanced scoring, without having anyone who threatened for the Art Ross Trophy. Oh yeah, the current Rangers are sitting atop the Atlantic Division, which the 1994 ones won.

Differences: That doesn’t mean there aren’t big differences, though. As you can see from Zubov and Leetch being in the team’s top four scorers, the old version produced a lot more points from the blueline. (Not to say that Mike del Zotto is chopped liver offensively, but the gap is glaring.)

The current team also isn’t quite as balanced, but the biggest difference might be in special teams. The 2011-12 team’s power play is pretty punch-less while the older one was strong, especially in scoring an impressive 20 shorties to just five allowed.

Captains: Finally, both teams have a heart-and-soul captain, although one’s more famous and the other has quite a bit more hair.

***

Overall, I think there are some interesting parallels, but the current Rangers might be a few strides behind. (Unless they nab Rick Nash and become a more potent offensive team, perhaps.)

  1. rarelyshaves - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    blue line scoring is down universally though. d-men are assist kings nowadays.

    i really think that defense wins games in this era, and the rangers are seriously dangerous in that regard. lundqvist is scary good this season as well

    i think you sell the current rangers a bit short, they have all around depth… in addition to what i just said, you have to factor in offensive guys like richards and gabs, plus the toughness they have. theyre my hands down pick for the eastern conference

  2. stakex - Feb 16, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    First of all, even as a die hard Rangers fan, I would take Lundquist over Richter ANY day. Richter is the most over rated Rangers player in the history of the organization. He had exactlly ONE good year, and that was when he had a defensive power house in front of him and a coach that was willing to yank him out of the net when he gave up his trademark cheap goals. Even then, his regular season stats weren’t that impressive with a 2.57 GAA and a .910 save percentage. His playoff stats were much better, but again he had an amazing defense in front of him. Id also like to point out that aside from 1994 his playoff stats are awful (he was bellow .900 save % 5 out of 8 years)… so calling him a “money goalie” and saying that Lundquist doesn’t compare is simple BS.

    So anyway, whats the big difference between these Rangers and the 1994 Rangers? Easy… this years team is not the last gasp of the great Oiler’s dynasty that won 5 cups in the 1980’s, and they don’t have the second best player (and arguably the best all around player) in history as their captain. This years team just lacks the deep playoff experience that made the 94 Rangers so dangerous. I would also say that the 1994 Rangers were loaded with far more raw talent then the current Rangers which are more of a grinding team. There are some things going for this years Rangers team of course when compared to 94. They are much younger then the 1994 Rangers and thanks to Torts appear to be in better physical shape then most other teams… which could be huge come April. They also have a similar chemistry to the 1994 Rangers, even if they lack the raw talent that team had.

    In the end, its hard to compare two teams that played nearly 20 years apart. Its also hard to have a more experienced, and skilled team then the Rangers had in 94. This years team is showing that is capable of winning just like that team… its just doing it a different way.

    • James O'Brien - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM

      I initially expected the gap between Richter and Lundqvist to be larger, but relative to goalies in 93-94, Richter was great. Was he great every year or as good as Lundqvist? No, but the gap is smaller than I expected – at least for the season in question.

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