New York Rangers: Former top scorer Marian Gaborik retires

marian gaborik

Gaborik played parts of four seasons with the Rangers and was one of the most prolific scorers of the team’s new century endeavors.

Former New York Rangers scorer Marian Gaborik announced his retirement on Thursday, ending a 17-year NHL career. Gaborik spent parts of four seasons on Broadway, earning 229 points (114 goals, 115 assists) over 255 games. He also added 13 points in two playoff appearances (25 games).

Gaborik, 39, made his announcement through a post on Instagram, where former teammates like Mats Zuccarello stopped by to offer support and well wishes.

“It’s been a great honour [sic] and privilege to play in the best league in the world (the NHL), since I was 18 years old. The journey has been nothing short from spectacular, amazing, and unbelievable. Many times it’s been a roller coaster, but I always found the way back,” Gaborik wrote in the accompanying caption. He offered a special shoutout to each of the five teams that hosted his NHL endeavors, thanking the Rangers for “having experience(d) Sweet Caroline and living in energy heaven of the world”, referencing the retired tradition of playing the Neil Diamond song during the late stages of wins at Madison Square Garden.

Gaborik entered the league as the original draft pick of the Minnesota Wild, chosen third in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to score the first goal in franchise history and became an integral part of their run to the 2004 Western Conference Finals in only their third year of existence. Though he departed Minnesota after the 2008-09 season, he remains the Wild’s all-time leader in goals (219) and hat tricks (9). Those tallies include a five-goal game against the Rangers in December 2007.

Gaborik inked a five-year, $37.5 million deal with the Rangers in July 2009. He tied his career-best with 42 goals in his first season. Though the Rangers missed the playoffs, Gaborik played a vital role in helping establish what would become a seven-year postseason streak. He notable played all 82 games during the 2011-12 season that saw the Blueshirts finish atop the Eastern Conference. Gaborik led the team with 76 points, including 41 goals.

His most famous New York moment came in Game 3 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals, when his goal in triple overtime allowed the Rangers to earn a crucial win in Washington. Earlier that season, Gaborik earned MVP honors at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa (one of three All-Star appearances), earning a hat trick for a “fantasy” team captained by Zdeno Chara.

Gaborik’s Rangers career ended in April 2013, when he was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a trade that sent Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore to New York. He was traded again during the following year’s deadline, joining the Los Angeles Kings in time for their run to the Stanley Cup. The trade would pay off big for the Kings, as Gaborik led all playoff scorers with 14 goals in the ensuing postseason. Two of those came in the Cup Final against the Rangers, as a power play tally in the third period of Game 5 allowed Los Angeles to send the game into overtime, where they’d eventually clinch their second Cup in three years.

After the Cup win, Gaborik played parts of the next four seasons in Los Angeles before he was traded to the Ottawa Senators in February 2018. Ottawa wound up hosting his final NHL contests: Gaborik played 16 games as a Senator but injuries kept him off the ice for the rest of his career. His rights were eventually traded to Tampa Bay in December 2020 in what was seen as a salary cap-clearing move by the Lightning.

In addition to his NHL endeavors, Gaborik also starred for Slovakia’s national team partaking in their Winter Olympic efforts in 2006 and 2010. Gaborik’s last international effort came during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, where he scored two goals for Team Europe, the tournament’s eventual runner-ups.

The modern Rangers (6-2-2) return to action on Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers (9:30 p.m. ET, MSG+).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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