New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has signed unrestricted free agent center Mark Messier. Messier returns to the city where he played from 1991 through 1997 and the team which he guided to the 1994 Stanley Cup championship. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Messier, 39, spent last season with the Vancouver Canucks, registering 17 goals and 37 assists for 54 points, along with 30 penalty minutes in 66 contests. He ranked third on the Canucks in goals, assists and points, received the team’s Molson Cup Award (most three-star selections) and won the Cyclone Taylor Award as team Most Valuable Player (as voted by the fans). Messier became only the sixth player in National Hockey League history to play in four different decades. With a goal versus Anaheim on March 2, he reached the 1,700-point plateau, becoming only the fourth player in NHL history to accomplish the feat.
A veteran of 21 NHL seasons, Messier has appeared in 1,479 career NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver, registering 627 goals and 1,087 assists for 1,714 points, along with 1,717 penalty minutes. He currently ranks as the leading scorer among all active NHL players and fourth on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1,714 points. Messier also ranks fourth in assists (1,087), sixth in goals (627), and seventh in games played (1,479).
In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Messier ranks second only to Wayne Gretzky in all scoring categories, registering 109 goals and 186 assists for 295 points. He is the all-time leader with 236 playoff games played. He has been an integral member of six Stanley Cup championship teams (five in Edmonton and one in New York).
The 6-1, 210-pound center has been recipient of the National Hockey League’s Hart Trophy (MVP) twice, the Lester B. Pearson Award (Outstanding Player) twice, and the Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP) once. Messier has also been selected to the NHL First All-Star Team four times, the Second All-Star Team once and participated in 14 NHL All-Star games (1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000). During the 1997-98 season, The Hockey News named Messier the 12th greatest player in NHL history.
Messier spent six seasons with the Rangers from 1991-92 through 1996-97, after being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on October 4, 1991. In 421 career games with New York, Messier registered 183 goals and 335 assists for 518 points, along with 474 penalty minutes. He ranks ninth in assists (335) and points (518) and 15th in goals (183) on the club’s all-time scoring list. During his six seasons with the club, he finished among the team’s top two scorers each season, leading the club four times. Messier was named the franchise’s 22nd captain in team history on October 7, 1991.
In Stanley Cup Playoff action with New York, Messier registered 29 goals and 51 assists for 80 points, along with 69 penalty minutes in 70 post-season contests. He trails only Brian Leetch in assists (61) and points (89) and Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert in goals (34) on the team’s all-time playoff scoring chart. The highlight of Messier’s six-year tenure in New York came in 1994, as he led the club to its first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years.
Following the 1991-92 season, Messier swept the voting in all post-season MVP races, capturing the Hart Trophy and the Lester Pearson Award, The Sporting News Player of the Year Award and The Hockey News Player of the Year Award. In capturing the Hart Trophy, he became the first Ranger since Andy Bathgate (1958-59) to win the award. He also represented New York at the NHL All-Star Game on five occasions (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997).
The Edmonton, Alberta native was originally Edmonton’s second choice, 48th overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.