Round 2, Vote 2 (HFNYR Top NYR Defensemen)
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06-27-2013, 03:40 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: NY, NY
IMHO the Rangers have had two players who were clearly at the top level as NHL defensemen, during their tenure as Rangers (or most of it): Leetch and Park… and I would be inclined to include Ching Johnson in that group as well. After that, the remainder of our candidates fall into a level below. And I don’t see how Greschner doesn’t merit a high position in that remaining group.
There seems to be a contingent among our voters who appreciate the mostly-defensive play of some of our candidates but don’t seem to give enough credit for the offensive defensemen among our candidates. When Greschner was playing, offensive defensemen were in demand and the Rangers particularly needed Greschner’s offense, since the teams were typically otherwise offensively lacking.
How good was Greschner’s offense? Park had been the points leader for defensemen, when he was traded to Boston, into his 8th Ranger season. Greschner surpassed Park’s totals in his 8th Rangers season. Park had double-digit goal totals 5x as a Ranger, Greschner also did it 5x in his first 7 Ranger seasons - and wound up with 8 seasons where he had double digit goals. Greschner had 4 seasons with 20 or more goals. Leetch had 5. Park had 2 as a Ranger and 3 such seasons in his career.
Greschner came into the league as many defensemen did at that time, trying to emulate Orr. His defense was not very good for his first four seasons but that changed when Fred Shero took the helm of the Rangers. Although not a tremendous defensive player at that point, Greschner was adequate defensively. His offense was more than adequate. He was a slick skater with the puck on his stick. I mentioned this before, but per my memory, he had the ability to slow the game down when the puck was on his stick. When Jagr was a Ranger, he also had that gift even though he wasn’t fast. I’m not saying that Greschner was the scorer Jagr was but he had that gift of slowing the game down when he had the puck. Greschner was an exceptional PPQB and also exceptional at rushing the puck. He could take the puck end to end.
He joined the Rangers in 74-75 and set the Rangers Rookie Assist Record with 37 (note, this wasn’t just the record for defensemen, but for all skaters). As I mentioned before, he broke Park’s point record and held it until Leetch.
Injuries limited his production during his final three seasons where he played a more defensive role and helped mentor young players like Leetch. In the 88-89 season , Greschner was +9 and Leetch was +8. Greschner only scored 11 points, while Leetch scored 71! Leetch played in 10 more games.
You get a better idea of how productive Greschner was when you realize he did most of his scoring in 11 seasons, as injuries limited him in 5 seasons. I think that fact alone should erase the notion that Geschner was a compiler. The guy held the points records for Rangers defensemen after basically 11 seasons - only broken by Leetch. That alone should place him in the middle of our Top 10.
He played some forward but that’s been overblown by some. I think the only season where he played a substantial amount of time at forward was when he played the left wing with Nilsson and Hedberg in 80-81. He put up 68 points in 74 games that season (27 goals and 41 assists) but, remember, even when he played forward, he was still playing “defense” as the PP point man – so a good portion of those points were still coming from where he would have been playing as a defensemen.
Greschner had 2 seasons where he was the 3rd leading scorer on the Rangers (not just among defensemen); he was the 4th leading scorer one season; 6th leading scorer in another; and 7th leading scorer in 2 seasons.
Captained the Rangers for one season after taking over the season before when Beck was injured. Gave it up the following season when injuries limited his playing time.
1 All Star Game in 1980.
Heart and soul player. Well-liked and respected by his teammates. Was the co-winner of the Players` Player Award in 1977-78.
He spent his whole career with the Rangers and was a great representative for them in the community, as evidenced by his winning the following awards: Rangers Good Guy Award — 1985-86 and "Crumb Bum" Award (Community Service) — 1984-85.
Greschner’s top offensive seasons:
77-78: 72 points in 78 games
78-79: 53 points in 60 games…with 12 points in 18 playoff games, including 7 goals
80-81: 68 points in 74 games… with 12 points in 14 playoff games
84-85: 45 points in 48 games
Last edited by Chief: 06-27-2013 at
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