On January 28, 2022, the Rangers will retire Henrik Lundqvist’s #30 Jersey as a well-deserved honor for the future first ballot Hall-of-Famer.
A player’s number is typically retired for having a great career for the team or maybe he was a great asset to the team when they won a championship(s).
“The Great One” Wayne Gretzky’s #99 was retired by the entire league when he retired in 1999 as his impact on the game transcended teams and decades.
The Vegas Golden Knights retired the #58 in tribute to honor the 58 people killed in a mass shooting in Las Vegas before the inaugural season started.
The NY Yankees have had so many players honored with jersey retirements that no new player can have a jersey number from 1-9.
So who should be the next Ranger to be so honored?
Several players from the 1994 Stanley Cup Team come to mind.
Stephane Matteau became a local hero after scoring the winning goal during the second overtime versus the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Final that sent the Rangers to the Finals versus the Vancouver Canucks.
Sergei Zubov was a strong defenseman, not just during the Stanley Cup season but consistently throughout his time on the Rangers. The NHL thought so too and inducted him into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019. His #56 jersey is set to be retired by the Dallas Stars on January 28, 2022. One could almost guarantee had the Rangers not made that ill-fated trade that Zubov’s number would be hanging from the Garden today.
Sergei Nemchinov, Jeff Beukeboom Alexei Kovalev were also consistent players and fan favorites while playing for the Rangers.
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Alexander Karpovtsev was also a strong defenseman. While being an assistant coach for the Lokomotiv Yaroslav Men’s Hockey team from the KHL, he was among those who are tragically killed when their plane crashed on September 7, 2011. Retiring his jersey number would, even though posthumously, be a perfect tribute to both the player and the man whose life was taken far too soon.