Who's The Best Ranger-Turned Islander Ever?
Each issue of Islanders Illustrated includes a section called
This is the place to go for anything from all-time Islanders penalty
shots to the franchise's best-ever faceoff men to even Chris King's
Desert Island(er) discs. In this excerpt from the LISTings in the
October issue, we present the five former Rangers who had the most
impact when they became Islanders.
The number of players who've worn both the Islanders and Rangers
sweaters now stands at 40. However, the list of players to have an
impact with their second New York team is remarkably short. Most guys
only lasted about a season playing for the Islanders after the
Rangers (John Vanbiesbrouck, Sergei Nemchinov, Don Maloney) or
wearing the Blueshirt after the orange-white-and-blue shirt (Patrick
Flatley, Pat LaFontaine, Rich Pilon).
There's a wide assortment of journeymen, including Barry Richter,
Jeff Toms, Mark Janssens and Daniel Lacroix. And then there was the
afternoon of April 7, 1995, when the Rangers picked up Troy Loney on
waivers from the Islanders in time to dress him for that night's
Islanders-Rangers game at the Garden. By the end of the night, the
Rangers had learned what the Islanders already knew - class act Loney
just did not have another season left in those legs.
Glenn Healy and Greg Gilbert played crucial supporting roles on the
Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup team, so you'd have to say they are the
best Islanders-turned-Rangers in history. But what about Rangers-
turned-Islanders? Here's our ranking of the top five.
1. Mike McEwen: Came through the Rangers system as a highly-touted
defense prospect before his trade to Colorado for Barry Beck. Bill
Torrey acquired him from the Rockies for Chico Resch and the solid
two-way defenseman was with the Islanders for Cups 2 through 4 plus
the Finals loss to Edmonton in 1984's Drive for Five.
2. Bert Marshall: Acquired by the Islanders in 1973 in the then-
called Inter-League draft. Ask Denis Potvin or any of the Islanders
defensemen from 1973-79 how much they learned from Marshall. Big Bert
wasn't there for any of the championships, but he played an important
role in the development of the dynasty.
3. Eric Cairns: The Islanders were so happy to pick him up on
waivers, Mike Milbury was willing to drive to Westchester to
personally take him to the Island. A solid No. 5 defender and first-
tier heavyweight, Cairns has been a regular for three seasons and
figures to be for many more.
4. Brian Mullen: He only played one season for the Islanders after GM
Don Maloney (still seems strange, no?) acquired him from San Jose for
the rights to the legendary Markus Thuresson. But the Hell's Kitchen
product and life-long Rangers fan was one of the Islanders' best
players in the 1993 playoffs when they beat Washington and Pittsburgh
to advance to the Conference Final. Heart ailments forced him to
retire six months later, but Mully gave Long Island his all.
5. Uh, Jari Gronstrand? Mike Donnelly? Arnie Brown? Dave Archibald?
We told you it was a very short list. Let's go with Darren Van Impe,
superb last season on D for the Islanders for a few months after
getting picked up at the trade deadline from the Panthers. He started
the season as-you guessed it-a Ranger.