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’s matchup is #1 Jaromir Jagr vs. #5 Brandon Prust, with the winner taking on the #2 Dan Girardi/#6 Petr Prucha winner in the Glen Sather Bracket.
Jaromir Jagr (acquired – 2004 trade with Washington)
The Rangers acquired Jagr in a trade with the Capitals that saw Anson Carter head over to Washington in exchange for Jagr and cash. The cash part being the Rangers paying just $4.94 million of Jagr’s $8 million salary, which was a huge boost in the salary cap era. As for Jagr himself, he set Ranger records for goals (54) and points (123) in a season in his first year on Broadway. He followed that up with a 96 point season (30-66) and a 71 point season (25-46) before departing for the KHL. In each of those three seasons, Jagr played all 82 games, which is something he had never done in his entire career.
In Jagr’s 3 post-lockout seasons, he put together a line of 109-201-310 in 246 games, clearly the highest three-year offensive output in a long time for the Rangers, if not ever (I really think this is the greatest three year offensive span in Ranger history. Please correct me if I’m wrong). Henrik Lundqvist may have been the reason why the Rangers were successful post-lockout, especially in those first few seasons, but Jaromir Jagr made them matter. He gave the fans a reason to care again.
Brandon Prust (acquired – 2010 trade with Calgary)
Brandon Prust was initially the throw-in with Olli Jokinen that the Rangers acquired for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik. However, he won over the hearts of Rangers fans everywhere with his blue collar play, hustle, work ethic, and his willingness to drop the gloves on a regular basis. His first full season with the Rangers was Prust’s best of his career, putting up a line of 13-16-29 while playing on the third line with Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko. This line started just 40% of their shifts in the offensive zone, making it difficult for Prust to even hit these kind of numbers. His second and final full year with the Rangers had less offense, but more of a defensive role as Torts line-matched the trio often.
All told, Prust’s contributions to the Rangers are measured off the stat page. His 22-33-55 line in 190 games doesn’t touch on the way he sparked the team on the ice. The Rangers –rightfully– let him walk after Montreal offered him a four-year deal worth $2.5 million annually.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Jagr or Prust? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Jagr), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Prust). Voting ends at midnight tonight.