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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Vinny Prospal (5) vs. Steve Valiquette (12)

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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 Chris Drury beat #9 Marek Malik. Today’s matchup is #5 Vinny Prospal vs. #12 Steve Valiquette.

Vinny Prospal (acquired – 2009 unrestricted free agent)

It’s hard to believe that Prospal only spent two years with the Rangers. He made a big impression with fans in his first year, putting up 20-38-58 while finding great chemistry with Marian Gaborik. Prospal’s second season was marred by a knee injury, but when he returned he still put up 9-14-23 in 29 games. Prospal is one of the few that could still play the game effectively in his mid-late thirties, and the Rangers got 29-52-81 in 104 games from Prospal. Plus, they also got extremely orange skin and some great goal celebration faces (here, here, here).

The Rangers let Prospal walk after the injury shortened season. Prospal went to the Columbus Rangers West Blue Jackets, where he has played in all 130 games across two seasons, putting up 28-57-75.

Steve Valiquette (acquired – 2004 trade with Edmonton)

Vally was actually acquired as a part of the 2004 fire sale, when the Rangers sent Petr Nedved and Jussi Markkanen to Edmonton for Vally, Dwight Helminen, and a 2004 2nd round pick (Dane Byers). Vally wound up playing the most games for the Rangers from that trade, serving as the backup to Henrik Lundqvist for three seasons. His first year with the team (2.19 GAA, .916 SV%, 13 GP) was actually solid for a backup. His second season saw him slip a bit (15 GP, 2.84 GAA, .907 SV%), and his third season was awful (6 GP, 3.74 GAA, .852 SV%).

Apparently he also speaks Russian. The Rangers waived Vally in 2009 after that abysmal start to the season for him. He went to the KHL for a season before retiring.

So who do you think is the better Ranger, Prospal or Valiquette? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Prospal), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Valiquette). Voting ends at midnight tonight.

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