Jaromir Jagr was traded to NYR by Washington for Anson Carter.
Gretzky ended his professional career with the New York Rangers, where he played his final three seasons and helped the team reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 1997. The Rangers were defeated in the conference finals by the Philadelphia Flyers, despite Gretzky leading the Rangers in the playoffs with 10 goals and 10 assists.For the first time in his NHL career, Gretzky was not named captain, although he briefly wore the captain's 'C' in 1998 when captain Brian Leetch was injured and out of the lineup. After the 1996–97 season, Mark Messier signed a free agent contract with the Vancouver Canucks, ending the brief reunion of Messier and Gretzky after just one season. With Messier's departure from the Rangers, the spotlight was on Gretzky once again. The Rangers, however, did not return to the playoffs during the remainder of Gretzky's career.
Prior to the 2005–06 season, the Rangers had missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons. Following the fire sale of the high-priced underachieving veterans that made up the team's roster, as well as the retirement of long-time captain Mark Messier, many experts picked the Rangers to be the worst team in the NHL. Jágr disagreed and promised the team would surprise a lot of people and make the Stanley Cup playoffs. He started strong during the beginning of the 2005 season and the return from the lockout of the NHL. He became only the fourth player in NHL history to score 10 or more goals in less than 10 games at the start of a season. His return to dominance helped the Rangers return to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but injuries to Jágr and others contributed to a quick Ranger exit in a first round sweep of the Broadway Blueshirts by the archnemesis New Jersey Devils.
Jagr to me as well. The supporting cast the Gretzky had in 1997 was much better than what Jagr ever had here. We were close to reaching round three with Jagr if it weren't for Marek Malik & Chris Drury.
Messier excluded, Jaromir was the best big name acquisition in Rangers history.
Love Gretz, and his time here was fun and memorable, but what Jagr did goes well beyond the box score, and even then, Jagr rewrote all the single season records. I just hope I'm lucky enough to see another Ranger play close to Jagr's '05.
it was Jagr. The Rangers went to the Conference Finals with a better team than those on which Jagr played. Jagr had the ability to carry the team, and he did - Gretz did not at that point in his career.
Messier was the top mercenary brought in. Jagr is the 2nd best followed closely by Lowe. Graves was not a mercenary because he had not established himself in the NHL. He did play on the line with Murphy and gelinas in 1990.
I went with equal, to be honest Gretzky took us further into the playoffs, but in jagr's defense i believe he had less to work with and returned us to respectability...
Its a wash because gretzky helped keep us respectable, and jagr brought us back, the years between were just garbage and I hate that leetch had to play them...
I have to take exception to this statement. Gretzky's final 2 years with the Rangers/as a player were the flush that took this franchise down the toilet.
Not saying it was his fault...I feel terrible that two all-timers like Gretzky and Leetch had to play with such a garbage filled roster, but those final 2 years were far from respectable for the franchise.