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 third round continues with #2 Brendan Shanahan against #3 Ryan McDonagh. The winner will take on #1 Henrik Lundqvist in the Tom Renney Bracket Finals.
Brendan Shanahan (acquired – 2006 unrestricted free agent)
Shanahan might be ranked a little high, but that’s because he’s Brendan freaking Shanahan. Shanny only spent two years with the Rangers, but his signing was a big one for a team that was one errant Marek Malik pass away from taking the #1 seed to the brink of elimination in the Conference Semis. With Shanny on board, the Rangers finally had much needed scoring depth to take the pressure off the Straka-Nylander-Jagr connection. In Shanny’s two years, the Rangers made it to the second round of the playoffs each time, something Ranger fans had not seen since 1997.
In his two years, Shanny put together a line of 52-56-108 in 140 games, including 29-33-62 in 67 games his first season. Shanny may have been old when he was brought on, but he was still effective and a solid second line player. Shanny also scored his 600th career NHL goal during his first game as a Ranger.
Ryan McDonagh (acquired – 2009 trade with Canadiens)
On June 30, 2009, Glen Sather shocked the world when he completed the now infamous Scott Gomez trade. Gomez, along with Tom Pyatt and Michael Busto, was shipped to Montreal in exchange for Chris Higgins, Doug Janik, unknown prospect Pavel Valentenko, and former first round pick Ryan McDonagh. After signing his ELC in 2010, McDonagh got his first call up in January of that season, and played the remaining 40 games with the Rangers. In that short stint, McDonagh proved he could be relied upon as a top-four defenseman.
The following season, McDonagh forced his way on to the top pairing by playing big minutes against the opposition’s best players. When Marc Staal went down with his injury(ies), it was McDonagh that lessened that blow. As he starts adding offense to his game (7-25-32 in his second season, 4-15-19 in the lockout season), it appears his potential is limitless. He is the #1 defenseman on a team privileged to have three top-pairing defensemen, and five top-four defensemen.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Shanny or McDonagh? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Shanahan), or thumbs down for the lower seed (McDonagh). Voting ends at midnight tonight.