The Rangers' first-round pick (ninth overall) in 1986, the Texan blueliner by way of Boston College soared to stardom in his first full NHL season, scoring 23 goals and 71 points to win the 1988-89 Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.
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In 1991-92, Leetch had one of the finest seasons ever by a blueliner, capturing the Norris Trophy, setting a team mark of 80 assists, and becoming one of only five NHL defensemen to ever top 100 points (102) in a season.
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Leetch played a key role in helping the Rangers end their 54-year Stanley Cup drought by upending the Vancouver Canucks in seven games of the 1994 final.
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The top postseason scorer (34 points), Leetch became the first American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP.
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Leetch and the Blueshirts celebrated their emotional triumph with a victory parade up Broadway in New York City.
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A proud product of USA Hockey, Leetch skated in the 1988 Winter Olympics before joining the Rangers and later played in the 1998 and 2002 Games. Here, he poses with teammates Keith Tkachuk (left) and Joel Otto after winning the 1996 World Cup final against Canada.
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Leetch overcame a slow start in 1996-97 to score 20 goals and 78 points, finishing with a 31 mark.
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The rousing finish to the '96-'97 season earned the Ranger blueliner his second Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman.
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Upon the departure of Mark Messier to Vancouver before the 1997-98 season, Leetch became the Rangers' captain.
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The arrival of Wayne Gretzky in 1996 led to the last playoff appearance of Leetch's tenure in New York.
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Leetch played in nine All-Star Games between 1990-2002, all representing the New York Rangers.
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With Leetch on the backline, the 2002 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team won the silver medal at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
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The Rangers' fortunes at a low point, Leetch was traded to Toronto on March 3, 2004 and helped send the Maple Leafs to the playoffs where they beat the Ottawa Senators in seven first-round games before falling to Philadelphia in six.
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With the NHL players locked out and the 2004-05 season in jeopardy, Leetch skated for the U.S. at the 2004 World Cup. Here, he battles former Ranger teammate Alexei Kovalev of Russia.
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After the lockout, Leetch played one more season, scoring 32 points in 61 games for the Boston Bruins in 2005-06. He hangs up his skates with 247 goals, 781 assists and 1,028 points. He is one of only seven NHL defenseman who have topped the 1,000 point mark.
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