Lesser Known Rangers – Volume 8

 

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The regular season has ended and the Rangers are not in the playoffs. Sorry for the grim reminder, but it’s the truth. This is a good thing, as the Rangers will have a chance at a high draft pick. This pick can either help the franchise or become a candidate for another one of these articles down the line. The previous season gave us some interesting names that could potentially qualify as future Lesser Known Rangers like David Desharnais, Cody McLeod, Paul Carey, Ryan Sproul and so forth. So, as we begin the playoffs and descent into the summer, here is another edition of Lesser Known Rangers.

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Josh Green, Center

Time with Rangers: 18 games over 2 seasons (2003-2004)

I vaguely remember this guy putting on a hockey uniform, but it seems to me after doing some research, he’s been around the league. Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, Green was traded to the Islanders, along with Olli Jokinen, Mathieu Biron and a first round pick for Ziggy Palffy, Bryan Smolinski, Marcel Cosineau and a fourth round pick.

The Islanders would then flip him to Edmonton with Eric Brewer and a second round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry draft for Roman Hamrlik (Another Lesser Known Ranger!)

His time with the Rangers began during his third season with the Oilers in 2002-03, when Green was traded by Edmonton to New York for a conditional pick in the 2004 draft on December 12, 2002. After playing in just four games with the Rangers, Green was claimed off waivers by the Washington Capitals on January 15, 2003. He only tallied two PIM’s and that was the end of stint number one.

On July 17, 2003, Green signed a one-year contract with the Calgary Flames. Green played in 36 games with the Flames before he was claimed off of waivers by the New York Rangers on March 6, 2004. This time, he appeared in 14 games for New York putting up five goals and three assists. After that season, his time with New York was up.

Green continued to bounce around the league which included trips to Vancouver, Anaheim and Edmonton. After some time bouncing around between the NHL, AHL and Europe, Green decided to go overseas full time. Green played his final four seasons in the Finnish Liiga, with Tappara and KooKoo before announcing his retirement from professional hockey on May 15, 2017.

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Chad Wiseman, Left Wing

Time with Rangers: Total of 5 games between 2003-2006

This also was a name that I had no idea even existed. Doing research is a wonderful thing. During his career, Wiseman primarily was floating around between the NHL, AHL, and some European leagues.

Wiseman started his NHL career in the 2002-03 season with the San Jose Sharks, appearing in only four games. On August 12, 2003, San Jose dealt Wiseman to the New York Rangers for Nils Ekman. Wiseman played one game in the 2003–2004 season, scoring one goal. Impactful, right?

After the NHL lockout, he played four games during the 2005-2006 season, recording one assist for New York. He also appeared in his first career playoff game in the first round for the Rangers later that season. Signing with the Capitals later that offseason, he stayed in the AHL with Hershey for most of his time in that organization, never playing a single game for Washington.

Bouncing around Europe and the AHL, he finally decided to call it quits in 2014 and is now currently the general manager of the New York Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League.

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Jozef Balej, Right Wing

Time with Rangers: 13 games during the 2004-04 season

The only thing I can really remember about Jozef Balej is he assisted on Mark Messier’s 694th career goal.

Balej originally dominated juniors with the Portland Winter Hawks, while being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens. He joined the Canadiens organization in 2002 and spent the 2002–03 season in the AHL, where he struggled, only putting up five goals and 20 points in 56 games. While he displayed dynamic speed and a heavy shot, Balej struggled with the bigger, stronger pro game and took ample time to adjust to the game. However, he showed signs of catching up the following season netting 25 goals and 58 points in 55 games, and earned a four-game cup of coffee with Montreal.

During the 03-04 Trade Deadline, Balej was traded to the New York Rangers as the centerpiece of a deal for Alexei Kovalev. With New York out of the playoff picture, he was given a longer look, appearing in 13 games and scoring his first NHL goal and adding four assists for five points.

At the conclusion of the season, he was re-assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack for the playoffs where he scored nine goals and 16 points in 16 games. He continued to play for Hartford during the 2004–05 NHL lockout, but had a down year with 20 goals and 42 points in 69 games.

Following this season, he was dealt to Vancouver for Fedor Fedorov. Although playing well for the Canucks, he suffered a gruesome injury that involved his stick harpooning his midsection causing a crushed kidney and internal bleeding. Although he would recover, he was never the same after that injury.

Once his time in Vancouver was finished, Balej went overseas and continued his pro career with a number of European teams within the Slovak and Czech leagues. Balej currently is active with HC Ambri-Piotta of the National League A in Switzerland.

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