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Best post-lockout Ranger: Regional Finals, Jaromir Jagr (1) vs. Dan Girardi (2)

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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. #2 Dan Girardi in the Glen Sather Regional Finals. The winner will join #1 seeds Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan Callahan in the Final Four.

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.

Dan Girardi (acquired – 2006 undrafted free agent)

Girardi is this team’s version of a Cinderella story. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of the OHL’s Guelph Storm (and Ryan Callahan’s teammate), Girardi was never a noted scorer, which is why he was never noticed. But the Rangers noticed him (presumably) while scouting Cally, and signed him to an AHL deal in the summer of 2005. They didn’t sign him to an NHL contract until 2006 after impressing in the ECHL and AHL. After his deal, he played another 45 games in the AHL before sticking with the big club permanently.

Over the next six seasons, Girardi missed a total of just four (!!) games. When you take into account the minutes (sometimes up to 30) he plays and the number of shots he blocks, that’s an impressive feat. Girardi isn’t a noted scorer (31-123-154 in his career), but he’s one of the best shutdown defensemen in the game today. Girardi has been the steady rock on defense, and players such as Fedor Tyutin, Marc Staal, and Ryan McDonagh have flourished while playing with him. Girardi was given the ‘A’ when Staal went down with his injuries, and it’s no mystery as to why.

So who do you think is the better Ranger, Jagr or Girardi? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Jagr), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Girardi). Voting ends at midnight tonight.

11 Responses to “Best post-lockout Ranger: Regional Finals, Jaromir Jagr (1) vs. Dan Girardi (2)”

  1. KennyJ says:

    I voted for Gerardi, in large part because he’s here! Unfair to Jagr? Probably, but a strong case can be made that Danny boy is more important to a cup run NOW than Jagr, as gifted as he was, could have been THEN.
    PS, I read this blog daily and want to stop getting posts to my email account as they pile up for no reason. How do I accomplish this? I clicked off the “notify me” box, but to no avail.Hugs anyway, Ken

  2. Rob says:

    This one was tough to say the least but I had to go Jag’s. Pained me to vote against Danny G, but what he did as a Ranger in 3 years was awesome. Ahhh if only his shoulder held up against the Devils in the playoffs.

  3. Bayman says:

    Tough call. Girardi is nails. But, I will forever be left with the impression of how often Jagr carried the team on his shoulders during his time here. During various jersey # retirement ceremonies during his time here…I would often think…’would be nice to win a Cup and see #68 raised to the roof someday’.

  4. Scully says:

    Closest vote yet, as is the popular sentiment. I voted for Jagr. He hasn’t been here since 2009, but he almost single-handedly changed the direction of the franchise, which had been a laughingstock for 8 seasons. The success and hope we enjoy now as fans is thanks in large part to Jagr’s absolutely otherworldly 2005-06 season.

    Joe Thornton did have an amazing 2/3rds of a season in San Jose that year, but a late-season losing streak was the only thing that kept Jagr from winning the MVP, which btw was a joke because if Ovechkin could win it last year over Tavaras or Crosby, Jagr should have won it in 05-06.

    Girardi is definitely tough as nails now, but he was considered soft until Torts called him out. I’m not knocking Girardi at all, he’s part of one of the best defensive groups in hockey and his 11-12 season changed his status from a “B-level defender who will probably be a good trade piece” to a “A- semi-untradeable franchise defenseman who has successfully paired with both Staal and McD.”

    Girardi is awesome, but Jagr was ABSOLUTELY the franchise for the 3.5 seasons he was here.

  5. Spozo says:

    I think Jagrs importance to the Rangers was shown in the playoffs that first year after the lockout. He has an MVP season (runner up but won the Pearson as voted by his peers) while setting franchise records. He then goes down with a dislocated shoulder and they get swept by the Devils in round one.

    Girardi is one helluva player but he is not THE guy on this team. He’s not even the best defenseman (arguably). Jagr was THE guy and without him the Rangers weren’t even a playoff team.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      I don’t know. Girardi played half a season with a genital hernia. That’s pretty tough. And the guy never misses a game.

      On the other hand jagr did prove everyone wrong. Remember that season everyone picked the rangers dead last. And he goes and helps the team make the playoffs.

      It’s still a shame he’s a Debbie.

  6. Scully says:

    Right down to the wire!

  7. Evan M says:

    I have officially lost any trust in the readership here at BSB. Girardi is a very good player. Jagr was a franchise player here. This should’ve been a complete wash

    • Scully says:

      I agree, they’re only voting for current players to win. In 3.5 years here Jagr did more for this franchise than a very good Girardi has done in his whole career.

      We’ve had 2 real superstars play here (discounting Shanahan who was past his prime) since the lockout. Lundqvist and Jagr… people just voted out one of them for a very very good role player, but a role player nonetheless.

      Jagr holds the franchise records for goals, assists, and points in a single-season.

      • Steven Cifuentes says:

        How was this even close. I understand the love for current players, but Jagr changed the team before all these new players became Rangers.

        Should have been a battle between Jagr and Hank at the end…now Hank runs away with it.