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 #4 Derek Stepan beat #13 Lauri Korpikoski. Today’s matchup is #6 Michael Del Zotto vs. #11 Ryan Hollweg.
Michael Del Zotto (acquired – 2008 draft, 1st round)
Del Zotto is probably one of the more under appreciated Rangers in recent memory. MDZ forced his way on to the roster in 2009 as a 19 year old and showed why the Rangers drafted him in the first round, putting up 9-28-37. He struggled defensively, and his poor decision making actually led to a demotion for the 2010-2011 season, when he spent 11 games in Hartford after putting up just 2-9-11 in 47 games for the Rangers. His sophomore season was a step backwards, but since then Del Zotto has been steadily improving on both sides of the puck. He has earned his top-four minutes and became someone the coaching staff trusts, which says something when that coach is (was) John Tortorella.
In his four year career, Del Zotto has a line of 24-86-110 in 250 games. As he continues to improve, the now 23 year old Del Zotto will hopefully prove most doubters wrong.
Ryan Hollweg (acquired – 2001 draft, 8th round)
Part of the HMO line, Hollweg was a nice piece of the Rangers 4th line during the Tom Renney era. Not known for scoring (5-7-12 over three seasons with the Rangers), Hollweg was relied upon (with Dominic Moore and Jed Ortmeyer) to provide energy and play solid defense. While defense wasn’t necessarily Hollweg’s strong point, he did play with an edge that saw him rack up 311 PIMs with the Rangers over those three seasons.
The Rangers eventually traded Hollweg to Toronto for a 5th round pick in 2008. He then bounced around the Coyotes organization for a few years before heading to the Czech league.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Del Zotto or Hollweg? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Del Zotto), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Hollweg). Voting ends at midnight tonight."Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Michael Del Zotto (6) vs. Ryan Hollweg (11)",