Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Jed Ortmeyer (5) vs. Chris Kreider (12)July 25, 2013, by
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. Yesterday we saw #8 Ruslan Fedotenko beat #9 Fredrik Sjostrom. Today’s matchup is #5 Jed Ortmeyer vs. #12 Chris Kreider:
Jed Ortmeyes (acquired – 2003 undrafted free agent)
The Rangers picked up Ortmeyer in 2003 after his senior season with Michigan. Orty wound up playing 58 games with the Rangers that following season, and 177 games with the Rangers over his three year stint with the club. Orty was primarily a fourth line player, as his 9-15-24 scoring line is indicative of the role he has with the team. Under Tom Renney, Orty was the O in the HMO line with Ryan Hollweg and Dom Moore. They excelled under Renney, and proved to be a decent fourth line on a team that was piecing it together to make the playoffs. Orty was another Ryan Callahan type player, playing blue collar hockey and hitting almost everything in sight.
In the end, the Rangers did not re-sign Orty after the 2006-2007 season, and many were surprised to see him go. Many saw future captain in him with the way he played. Orty was a breath of fresh air for a fan base that had seen nothing but overpriced vets coast their way to paychecks for the previous seven years.
Chris Kreider (acquired – 2009 draft, first round)
Kreider exploded on to the scene during the 2012 playoffs, joining the team for 18 games and scoring five goals in the process. Kreider showcased his lightning speed and great shot in the high pressure environment, helping the Rangers to get to the Conference Finals. At that point, Ranger fans were introduced to their first high profile scoring prospect since Mike York.
Kreider spent the lockout in Connecticut, where he struggled to fully adjust to the demands of the pro schedule. Kreider didn’t necessarily deserve his spot on the NHL roster when the season began, and it showed as he struggled to maintain consistency. When he was demoted mid-season, it seemed everything began to click and he played much better. His improved play earned him another call up for the playoffs, and while he didn’t score at the pace he did in 2012, he showed more confidence and poise with the puck.
With Kreider, it is all about potential. We’ve seen what he is capable of, and it’s a matter of putting it all together on a consistent basis. A new coach, one that is less aggressive, may help Kreider develop, but that’s something we won’t know until the season starts.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Ortmeyer or Kreider? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Ortmeyer), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Kreider). Voting ends at midnight tonight.