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 #3 Rick Nash beat #14 Steve Eminger. Today’s matchup is #6 Petr Prucha vs. #11 Paul Mara.
Petr Prucha (acquired – 2002 draft, 8th round)
Prucha burst on to the scene as a rookie in the 2005-2006 season, becoming the first Ranger rookie to score 30 goals in a season since Tony Amonte 14 seasons prior. The tiny winger (listed at 6′ and 175 lbs, but I think that’s generous) won over Ranger fans very quickly with his goal scoring and his blue collar play. Prucha clicked with Jaromir Jagr on the top powerplay unit, and never looked back. He scored 22 goals in his second season with the Rangers, but dropped off and found himself as a healthy scratch for the majority of his final two seasons in New York. Prucha was a healthy scratch so often that he wasn’t even included in the Tom Renney line generator.
Prucha was eventually sent to Phoenix with Nigel Dawes and Dmitri Kalinin for Derek Morris. He spent two more years there before bolting for the KHL. During his Rangers career, Prucha had a line of 63-50-113 in 237 games.
Paul Mara (acquired – 2007 trade with Boston)
The Rangers acquired Mara for Aaron Ward in the 2006-2007 season. They mostly wanted someone who would be a better fit for the Tom Renney system than Ward, who just wasn’t the appropriate fit here. In Mara, the Rangers got a steady bottom pairing defenseman with some grit. Mara played two more seasons in New York before heading to Montreal, putting up a line of 8-35-43 in 156 games, with 164 PIMs and one glorious beard.
Mara was eventually let go after the 2008-2009 season, when he signed with Montreal. The Rangers decided to let their kids play (Del Zotto, Gilroy, Staal, Girardi) and had enough veterans (Redden, Rozsival) to compliment them.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Prucha or Mara? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Prucha), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Mara). Voting ends at midnight tonight.