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. Today the second round continues with #3 Rick Nash vs. #6 Petr Prucha.
Just a note: I am on vacation. The tournament posts are still going up, but I had to schedule them in advance, so the winners of the previous matchups won’t be posted in the picture until I get back next week. I am still keeping track though.
Rick Nash (acquired – 2012 trade with Columbus)
Nash came to the Rangers in an offseason blockbuster that sent Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a 2013 1st round pick (Kerby Rychel) to the Blue Jackets for Nash, Steven Delisle, and a 2013 3rd round pick (Pavel Buchnevich). Nash was everything that was advertised for the Rangers, putting up 21 goals and 42 points in 44 games. Over an 82-game season, that averages out to about 40 goals and 80 points. Nash is the game breaker that the Rangers have needed desperately. With Nash, they have someone who can draw the opposition’s top defenders and still come out with a dominant shift.
It is necessary to point out that with Nash, the Rangers were expected to be a dominant offensive force. However, the struggles of Gaborik and Richards threw a wrench into that, leading to Gaborik’s trade for key depth players. None of that is on Nash, who performed in a manner that we expected.
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.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Nash or Prucha? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Nash), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Prucha). Voting ends at midnight tonight.