Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Chris Drury (8) vs. Marek Malik (9)August 9, 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 #1 Marc Staal shut out #16 Darius Kasparaitais. Today’s matchup is #8 Chris Drury vs. #9 Marek Malik.
Chris Drury (acquired – 2007 unrestricted free agent)
Drury will forever be linked to the 2007 free agency binge that the Rangers went on. The club inked the former Sabres captain to a five year deal with a cap hit of $7.05m per season. Following back-to-back 30-goal, 65-point seasons, Drury did not find the same success on the stat sheet when coming to New York. That said, he still put up a pair of 20-goal, 55-point campaigns. That’s not exactly bad for a guy who was signed to be the second line center (Scott Gomez was the top center, if we remember correctly). Drury was also named captain of the team, and had the respect of the locker room.
Drury’s balky knee was eventually his undoing, as he could not keep up with a high-intensity Torts style. The team bought Drury out in 2011, and Drury retired a few months later. Overall, Drury put up a line of 62-89-149 in 264 games, with 47-67-114 coming in his first two years (163 games).
Marek Malik (acquired – 2005 unrestricted free agent)
Despite the fact that he had cement in his skates, Malik played pretty well for the Rangers in his three year stint. Malik put up a combined +60 in his first two seasons, and even though I hate the stat, that’s pretty impressive. Never an offensive player, Tom Renney relied on Malik as a top-pairing defenseman with Michal Rozsival. The pairing was pretty effective too. It wasn’t until his third year with the Rangers that Malik started showing that he couldn’t keep up in the new NHL. The Rangers also had younger, better options on defense (Tyutin, Staal, Girardi) that were taking up Malik’s playing time.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Drury or Malik? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Drury), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Malik). Voting ends at midnight tonight.