In 90 years as an organization in the National Hockey League, only eight players have ever worn the number 13 for the New York Rangers, including current Blueshirt Kevin Hayes, who just might end up being the best of them all.
The 23 year-old Hayes was the NHL's fifth leading scorer among rookies a year ago with 45 points. He combines excellent size and strength with high-end skill set to go along with the self-confidence it takes to become a star in this league. You just get the feeling that Hayes was just scratching the surface of what he can become during his first year in 2014-15.
Those 45 points were also the fifth most recorded in a single season by any Ranger wearing the number 13. Sergei Nemchinov and Nikolai Zherdev both notched 58 points--Nemchinov in his first year as a Ranger in 1991-92 and Zherdev in his lone New York season of 2008-09--with No. 13 on their Blueshirt.
That point total seems well within Hayes' reach in the not so distant future. Both Nemchinov and Zherdev were much more experienced than Hayes when they posted their respective 58-point seasons as Rangers--even though technically Nemchinov, a veteran of the Russian leagues, was a first-year player in the NHL.
Nemchinov, who was one of five 30-goal scorers on the Rangers' 1991-92 Presidents Trophy winning squad--along with Mike Gartner, Tony Amonte, Mark Messier and Darren Turcotte--also recorded 23 goals and 54 points in 1992-93 and then 22 goals and 49 points in 1993-94 when he helped the Rangers hoist the Stanley Cup.
Over 418 regular season games with the Rangers the stoic and strong-as-an-ox Nemchinov scored 105 goals, added 120 assists, and totaled 225 points. He was a very dependable face off man and an extremely responsible defensive forward, one willing to sacrifice his offensive numbers and accept other roles for the betterment of the team.
Nemchinov is the benchmark, the most successful Ranger to ever wear number 13 to this point.
Zherdev's one season was solid--he tied for the team lead with 58 points in 2008-09 and tied for second in goals (23) and assists (35)--but it does not compare to the length and consistency of Nemchinov's run with the Rangers.
Bob Brooke, who wore number 13 on Broadway from 1983-84 to 1986-87, totaled 71 points over 175 games during his stint in New York, including a 24-goal, 44-point output in 1985-86. That spring Brooke recorded six goals and 15 points in 16 playoff games as the Rangers reached the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens.
Veteran Valeri Kamensky signed with the Rangers in the summer of 1999 and spent two years with the club, wearing No. 13. He appeared in 123 games, with his best Ranger season coming in 2000-01 when he notched 34 points in 65 games.
A pair of rugged forwards--Richard Scott and Daniel Carcillo--also wore the somewhat infamous lucky or unlucky 13 with the Rangers. Scott appeared in only 10 games with the Blueshirts between 2001-02 and 2003-04, while Carcillo helped the Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, scoring twice in eight post-season games after playing in 31 regular season contests after being acquired in January of 2014.
The very first player to wear number 13 with the Rangers was a Canadian by the name of Jack Stoddard, a Blueshirt during the 1951-52 and 1952-53 seasons. His claim to fame was, that at 6-feet-3-inches tall, Stoddard was the NHL's tallest player during his time.
Of the eight players to wear No. 13 with the Rangers, all have played forward, three have been Russian-born, two--including Hayes--are from the United States, and only one has won a Stanley Cup.
If last year is a sign of things to come, then one day Kevin Hayes--who was given No. 13 a year ago because his preferred No. 12 was already taken--could very well be remembered as the best of all these Thirteens.