Founded in 1926 by Tex Rickard, the Rangers are one of the Original Six teams that competed in the NHL before its 1967 expansion, along with the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. The team attained success early on under the guidance of Lester Patrick, who coached a team containing Frank Boucher, Murray Murdoch, and Bun and Bill Cook to Stanley Cup glory in 1928, making them the first NHL franchise in the United States to win the trophy. The team would then go onto win two additional Stanley Cups in 1933 and 1940.
Following this initial grace period, the franchise struggled between the 1940s and 1960s, whereby playoff appearances and success was infrequent. The team enjoyed a mini renaissance in the 1970s, where they made the Stanley Cup finals twice, albeit, losing to the Bruins in 1972 and the Canadiens in 1979. The Rangers subsequently embraced a rebuild for much of the 1980s and early 1990s, which eventually paid dividends, where the team, led by Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, and Mike Richter, captured their fourth Stanley Cup in 1994.
The team was unable to duplicate that success in the years that followed, and entered into another period of mediocrity. They endured a franchise-record seven-year postseason drought from 1998 to 2005, and languished for the majority of the 2000s before enjoying another period of prosperity after the 2004–05 NHL Lockout. Upon the arrival of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers thrived, missing the playoffs just once between 2006 and 2017. They reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014, falling to the Los Angeles Kings in five games. They have since entered into another period of rebuilding.
Several former members of the Rangers have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, four of whom—Buddy O'Connor, Chuck Rayner, Andy Bathgate, and Messier—have won the Hart Memorial Trophy while playing for the team.