New York Rangers President, General Manager and Head Coach Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with team captain Mark Messier. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Mark’s Hall of Fame career speaks for itself, but it is the intangible characteristics he brings that are such a positive for our hockey club,” said Sather. “He is a champion, a leader and a warrior who’s only priority is to see the Rangers regain their position among the NHL’s top clubs.”
Messier appeared in 78 matches with the Rangers last season, registering 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points, along with 30 penalty minutes. He ranked fourth on the team with 40 points, third on the team with 18 goals, first on the team with five game-winning goals and second on the team with eight power play goals. Messier skated in his 1,616th career match on November 3 vs. St. Louis, passing Larry Murphy for second place on the NHL’s all-time games played list after passing Raymond Bourque for third place earlier in the season. He collected his 400th assist as a Ranger on December 29 at Tampa Bay. On October 21 vs. Tampa Bay, Messier recorded his 611th point as a Ranger to move past Ron Greschner into sixth place on the Rangers all-time scoring list.
“I am excited to be returning to the Rangers and looking forward to a successful season that we all expect and our loyal fans deserve,” said Messier. “My focus is on restoring the great pride of the New York Rangers organization and I am confident that we will be able to accomplish this objective.”
A veteran of 24 NHL seasons, Messier has appeared in 1,680 career NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and the Rangers, registering 676 goals and 1,168 assists for 1,844 points, along with 1,868 penalty minutes. He currently ranks as the leading scorer among all active NHL players and third on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1,844 points. Messier enters the 2003-04 season just six points shy of tying Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list (1,850) and just one assist shy of tying Raymond Bourque for third place on the NHL’s all-time assists list (1,169). In addition, he ranks eighth in NHL history with 676 career goals.
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 the 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.
In his first tenure with the Rangers, Messier spent six seasons in New York from 1991-92 through 1996-97, after being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on October 4, 1991. In 421 games over the span, Messier registered 183 goals and 335 assists for 518 points, along with 474 penalty minutes. Since rejoining New York on July 13, 2000, he has collected 49 goals and 81 assists for 130 points, along with 151 penalty minutes in 201 games. Messier currently ranks seventh in assists (416), sixth in points (648) and eighth in goals (232) on the club’s all-time scoring list. Messier was named the franchise’s 22nd captain in team history on October 7, 1991 and then assumed the captaincy upon his return to the club on July 13, 2000.
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.
The Edmonton, Alberta native was originally Edmonton’s second choice, 48th overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.
The NHL’s New York Rangers hockey club, entering its 78th year of operation, is part of Madison Square Garden, L.P. Cablevision Systems Corporation owns a controlling interest in MSG L.P., which also includes the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Liberty (WNBA), the Hartford Wolf Pack (American Hockey League), the MSG Network, Fox Sports Net and the Madison Square Garden arena complex, located in the heart of the New York metropolitan area.