Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Marian Gaborik (3) vs. Fedor Tyutin (6)

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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, #4 Carl Hagelin routed #12 Chris Kreider. Today the second round continues with #3 Marian Gaborik vs. #6 Fedor Tyutin.

Marian Gaborik (acquired – 2009 unrestricted free agent)

Following the Scott Gomez trade, the Rangers targeting the best scorer on the 2009 free agent market, landing Marian Gaborik to a five year contract worth $7.5 million annually. That first season, Gaborik came as advertised, putting up 42-44-86 while playing 76 games. The second year, Gaborik also came as advertised, as he suffered an injury and his on-ice performance suffered to the tune of 22-26-48 in 62 games. Following a rebound year in 2011-2012 (41-35-76 in 82 games), Gaborik really struggled in the lockout year (following offseason shoulder surgery), putting up just 9-10-19 in 35 games before getting shipped to Columbus.

The gripe most fans have with Gaborik is that he wasn’t consistent, but I don’t think that’s fair. In 3.5 seasons, Gaborik had a pair of 40-goal years, and he played with a pretty bad shoulder in the 2012 playoff run. It’s tough to ask more of Gaborik, who put up 114-115-229 in 255 games. He fulfilled his role as top-line scorer.

In need of depth, the Rangers sent Gaborik to the Blue Jackets (with a pair of AHLers) for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore, and a 2014 6th round pick. The trade got the Rangers to the playoffs, but most will remember Gaborik not for his 40-goal years, but for his struggles coming out of lockout #3.

Fedor Tyutin (acquired – 2001 draft, 2nd round)

Tyutin was the first home grown defenseman to make an impact for the Rangers in what felt like an eternity. Tyutin’s three years with the Rangers saw him grow from a rookie into a first pairing defenseman (paired with then youngster Dan Girardi). Under Tom Renney, Tyutin was used as in a hard-hitting, shutdown role while chipping in a bit offensively. The Tyutin you’ve been seeing in Columbus is the Tyutin the Rangers had for three years, showing how consistent he was. In 225 post-2005-lockout games, Tyutin put up a line of 13-46-59 while playing solid defensive hockey.

Tyutin (and Christian Backman) was eventually sent to Columbus for Nik Zherdev and Dan Fritsche. At the time of the deal, it was a case of the Rangers dealing from a strength (defense) to address a weakness (scoring). However, the trade didn’t exactly work out the way the Rangers had hoped.

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

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