As the offseason wears on, us and Matt Josephs of Blue Line Station (Twitter: 11Matt_Josephs8) will be running a tournament for the Best Ranger since the 2005 lockout. Today’s matchup is #8 Nigel Dawes vs. #9 Martin Rucinsky:
Nigel Dawes (Acquired – 2003 draft, round five)
Dawes has a special place in the hearts of Ranger fans. He was one of the first post-lockout homegrown players to make the team, getting his first cuppa in the 2006-2007 season before sticking with the big club for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons. In 121 games, Dawes put together a line of 25-24-49. Perhaps his most remembered goal is when he completely undressed Chris Pronger, then with the Ducks. Dawes’ days as a Ranger came to an end at the 2009 trade deadline, when he was shipped to Phoenix –along with Dmitri Kalinin and Petr Prucha– for defenseman Derek Morris.
Martin Rucinsky (Acquired – 2005 unrestricted free agent)
Rucinsky’s acquisition is a little bit tricky, as he had a few stints with the Rangers. In 2002, the Rangers acquired him and Roman Lyashenko from Dallas for Manny Malhotra and Barrett Heisten. After letting him go in free agency, the Rangers again traded for him in 2004, sending Martin Grenier and RJ Umberger to Vancouver. His contract expired after the lockout season, but Rucinsky re-signed for the one year after the lockout.
For the sake of this tournament, we are only going to focus on Rucinsky’s one season with the Rangers following the 2004-2005 lockout. In that 2005-2006 season, Rucinsky played in 52 games with the Rangers, putting up a line of 16-39-55. Rucinsky’s shining moment came when he flipped off Donald Brashear, which is still one of my favorite post-lockout moments.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Dawes or Rucinsky? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Dawes), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Rucinsky). Voting ends at midnight tonight.