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 #4 Derek Stepan vs. #5 Vinny Prospal.
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.
Derek Stepan (acquired – 2008 draft, 2nd round)
Stepan emerged as the Rangers top center this past season, scoring at almost a point per game in the lockout shortened season. His 18-26-44 line led the team in scoring, which says a lot considering this was a roster with Rick Nash. He was the team leader in assists, points, and was second to Nash in goals. His NHL totals in three years are pretty solid at 56-84-140 in 212 games. For those keeping track, 212 games is three full seasons without missing a single game.
Stepan is currently unsigned (at the writing of this post on Saturday), but there will be a deal in place before the season starts.
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.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Stepan or Prospal? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Stepan), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Prospal). Voting ends at midnight tonight.