|6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
185 lb (84 kg)
|Teams||New York Rangers|
Toronto Maple Leafs
|Born||March 3, 1968,|
Corpus Christi, TX, U.S.
|NHL Draft||9th overall, 1986|
New York Rangers
|Pro Career||1987 – 2006|
Brian Leetch (b. March 3, 1967 in Corpus Christi, Texas) is a retired American professional ice hockey defenseman who played in 18 National Hockey League (NHL) seasons with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins. He is generally considered one of the top offensive defensemen, and one of the best American born NHL defenseman in history.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Although he was born in Texas, his family moved from there 3 months after he was born, eventually settling in Cheshire, Connecticut. This is where the youngster would begin to hone his hockey skills at a local ice rink managed by his father. In high school he excelled in baseball and hockey, first at Cheshire High School, and then at Avon Old Farms. As a sophomore, his 90-mph fastball helped the Cheshire Rams baseball team to a state championship and, as a senior at Avon Old Farms, he set the school record for strikeouts in a game with 19. The sport of hockey, however, is where he really excelled. As a sophomore at Cheshire, he scored 53 goals and 50 assists. In 2 seasons with Avon Old Farms he scored 70 goals and 90 assists in 54 games. These numbers were especially remarkable for a defenseman. NHL scouts were starting to take notice and the New York Rangers chose Leetch as their first-round pick (9th overall) in 1986. Following in the footsteps of his father Jack, Brian enrolled at Boston College in the fall of 1986, and, like his father, would become an All-American defenseman for the Eagles.
NHL career[edit | edit source]
After one season in the NCAA, he made his NHL debut with the New York Rangers in 1987, scoring 14 points in 17 games. In his first full year in 1988, he notched 71 points, including a rookie defenseman-record 23 goals, winning the Calder Trophy as well as being selected to the NHL All-Rookie Team.
As the Rangers slowly developed into a championship-caliber team, Leetch won increasing respect from fans for his quiet demeanor and entertaining, offensive-minded play. In 1992 he became the fifth defenseman in history, and the only American defenseman, to record 100 points in a season and was awarded the Norris Trophy. In 1994 he again matched his career high of 23 goals in the regular season as the Rangers won the Presidents Trophy. That year the Rangers' 54-year championship drought ended with a 7-game Stanley Cup victory over the Vancouver Canucks; Leetch became the first non-Canadian to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, and remains the only American to win this award.
Following the Rangers' Cup win in 1994, Leetch remained a fan favorite and team leader, serving as Captain from 1997-2000 after the departure of Mark Messier to the Vancouver Canucks (he would hand back the captaincy to Messier upon his return to the Rangers in 2000). In 1997 he again won the Norris Trophy and the Rangers made a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers. The next years, however, were marked by disappointing team performances that saw the Rangers miss the playoffs every year. After the especially unsuccessful 2004 campaign, the Rangers traded most of their high-priced veterans; Leetch was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs just prior to the trade deadline for prospects Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immonen, a first-round pick in the 2004 draft, which became Lauri Korpikoski, and a second-round pick in 2005, which became Michael Sauer.
During most of the 2006-07 season Leetch received offers from nearly every NHL team,  but accepted none, although he made no formal announcement pertaining to his status as a player. On May 24, 2007, Brian Leetch officially announced his retirement, ending an 18-year career. 
On September 6, 2007 it was announced that the New York Rangers will retire Leetch's number 2 jersey on January 24, 2008, joining fellow 1994 Stanley Cup Champion teammates Mark Messier and Mike Richter in the rafters of Madison Square Garden.
Career statistics[edit | edit source]
|1987-88||New York Rangers||NHL||17||2||12||14||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|1988-89||New York Rangers||NHL||68||23||48||71||50||4||3||2||5||2|
|1989-90||New York Rangers||NHL||72||11||45||56||26||-||-||-||-||-|
|1990-91||New York Rangers||NHL||80||16||72||88||42||6||1||3||4||0|
|1991-92||New York Rangers||NHL||80||22||80||102||26||13||4||11||15||4|
|1992-93||New York Rangers||NHL||36||6||30||36||26||-||-||-||-||-|
|1993-94||New York Rangers||NHL||84||23||56||79||67||23||11||23||34||6|
|1994-95||New York Rangers||NHL||48||9||32||41||18||10||6||8||14||8|
|1995-96||New York Rangers||NHL||82||15||70||85||30||11||1||6||7||4|
|1996-97||New York Rangers||NHL||82||20||58||78||40||15||2||8||10||6|
|1997-98||New York Rangers||NHL||76||17||33||50||32||-||-||-||-||-|
|1998-99||New York Rangers||NHL||82||13||42||55||42||-||-||-||-||-|
|1999-00||New York Rangers||NHL||50||7||19||26||20||-||-||-||-||-|
|2000-01||New York Rangers||NHL||82||21||58||79||34||-||-||-||-||-|
|2001-02||New York Rangers||NHL||82||10||45||55||28||-||-||-||-||-|
|2002-03||New York Rangers||NHL||51||12||18||30||20||-||-||-||-||-|
|2003-04||New York Rangers||NHL||57||13||23||36||24||-||-||-||-||-|
|2003-04||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||15||2||13||15||10||13||0||8||8||6|
|2004-05||DNP — Lockout||NHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
See also[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
|New York Rangers First-round Draft Picks|
|Osborne • Graham • Veilleux • Park • Dickson • Dupont • Jarry • Gratton • Vickers • Durbano • Blanchard • MacMillan • Middleton • Maloney • Dillon • Murdoch • DeBlois • Duguay • Sulliman • Malone • Patrick • Kontos • Gagner • Carkner • Dahlen • Leetch • More • Rice • Stewart • Kovalev • Ferraro • Sundstrom • Cloutier • Brown • Cherneski • Malhotra • Brendl • Lundmark • Blackburn • Jessiman • Montoya • Korpikoski • Staal • Sanguinetti • Cherepanov • Del Zotto • Kreider|