The New York Rangers will be adding another number to the rafters of Madison Square Garden next season when they officially retire Jean Ratelle’s No. 19, according to a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
Ratelle, who spent 16 years with the Rangers between 1960 and 1976, is one of the most accomplished players in the history of the franchise and the honor is probably long overdue.
He will be the ninth player to have his number retired by the team, joining goalie Ed Giacomin (No. 1), defenseman Brian Leetch (No. 2), defenseman Harry Howell (No. 3), forward Rod Gilbert (No. 7), forwards Andy Bathgate and Adam Graves (both No. 9), forward Mark Messier (No. 11) and goalie Mike Richter (No. 35).
Brooks reports that the ceremony for Ratelle will also include Ratelle’s former linemates Gilbert and Vic Hadfield, making it the first time the trio has been together since the team’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2000.
Ratelle was included on the NHL’s recently released top-100 players list as one of the top players from the 1970s.
He currently ranks among the top-three in Rangers history in pretty much every major offensive category, including goals (second with 336), assists (third with 481), total points (third with 817), even-strength goals (second with 236) and game-winning goals (second with 42).
The Rangers traded Ratelle, along with Brad Park and Joe Zanussi, to the Boston Bruins in 1975 for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais. He played six-and-a-half years with the Bruins following the trade.
During his career he was a five-time All-Star, won the Lester B. Pearson award, the Masterton Trophy, and was a two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy.