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 #2 Brandon Dubinsky against #3 Michael Nylander. The winner will face #4 Derek Stepan in the Alain Vigneault bracket. Stepan was the first to take out a #1 seed, eliminating Marc Staal yesterday.
Brandon Dubinsky (acquired – 2004 draft, 2nd round)
The Rangers actually traded down in the second round twice, and still nabbed Dubinsky with the 60th pick (details here). Dubi got his first cuppa in 2006-2007, playing six games, and made the club out right the following season. What followed was five straight seasons of aggressive, blue collar hockey that meshed well with the coaches and the fans. Dubi was a workhorse for the Rangers, consistently playing 20 minutes of hard nosed hockey.
Dubi played 393 games with the Rangers, putting up a line of 81-132-213 with a pair of 20-goal seasons. Dubi was eventually sent to Columbus in the Rick Nash deal.
Michael Nylander (acquired – 2004 unrestricted free agent)
When initially signed, Nylander was looked at with the same doubt as Marty Straka. How was Nylander supposed to help this Ranger team make the playoffs? Well, he answered that in a big way over his two seasons in New York, putting together 79 and 83 point seasons while clicking with Straka and Jaromir Jagr. The three of them (with Henrik Lundqvist) put the Rangers back on the map of relevance. Nylander’s two years with the Rangers saw him put together a line of 49-113-162 in 160 games.
The Rangers eventually let Nylander walk after the 2006-2007 season when Washington offered him a four-year deal. Nylander never clicked in Washington, and was out of the NHL just two years later. The Rangers decided to let him walk to sign both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Dubinsky or Nylander? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Dubinsky), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Nylander). Voting ends at midnight tonight.