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. The last Regional Finals matchup is today, with #2 Brandon Dubinsky taking on #4 Derek Stepan. Stepan was the first to eliminate a #1 seed, taking out Marc Staal in the previous round. The winner faces #2 Dan Girardi in the Final Four, who took out #1 Jaromir Jagr 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.
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.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Dubinsky or Stepan? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Dubinsky), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Stepan). Voting ends at midnight tonight.