Category: Offseason

Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Brendan Shanahan (2) vs. Blair Betts (7)

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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. Yesterday, #3 Ryan McDonagh took out #6 Markus Naslund, and today the second round continues with #2 Brendan Shanahan vs. #7 Blair Betts.

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.

Blair Betts (acquired – 2004 trade with Flames)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 2, Ryan McDonagh (3) vs. Markus Naslund (6)

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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. Yesterday, #4 Artem Anisimov beat #5 Anton Stralman by a very slim margin. Today, the second round continues with #3 Ryan McDonagh vs. #6 Markus Naslund.

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.

Markus Naslund (acquired – 2008 unrestricted free agent)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 2, Artem Anisimov (4) vs. Anton Stralman (5)

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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. The second round started yesterday with #1 Henrik Lundqvist beating #9 Martin Rucinsky. Today, the second round continues with #4 Artem Anisimov (who beat #13 Erik Christensen) taking on #5 Anton Stralman (who beat #12 Aaron Voros).

Artem Anisimov (acquired – 2006 draft, 2nd round)

Anisimov had an interesting stint in New York. After coming over to the US and skating with the Wolfpack for two seasons, registering 81 points in his second season, Anisimov made the team outright in 2009. For his three years on Broadway, Anisimov missed just three games, all in 2011-2012. In those 243 games, Anisimov put together an offensive line of 46-62-108 while bouncing between the top-six and fourth line and barely seeing powerplay time. In fact, Anisimov put together the fourth-best even strength P/60 (1.72) in his final year with the Rangers, and never dropped below 1.69. Despite impressive P/60 numbers, Anisimov never really solidified himself in the John Tortorella roster.

Anisimov’s time on Broadway came to a close when he was shipped to Columbus in a package for Rick Nash.

Anton Stralman (acquired – unrestricted free agent, 2011)

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Our final hockey-less month

Remember hockey? I miss it too.

As a hockey fan, August is by far the worst month of the year.  Free agency, the major trades, the Draft, they have all long passed by and the dog days of summer have set in.  Traverse City is still a few weeks away.  The major headlines are the remaining few contract situations (Stepan and to some extent, Lundqvist), but the season still seems worlds away.

In the life of a hockey blogger, August represents dredging the deepest recesses of your brain for something to write about.  Everything with AV, re-signing McDonagh, Hagelin and Zuccarello, speculating on Stepan and Hank’s extensions, assessing the cap situation, etc. have been beaten to death over the past two months.  Nothing really left to do but wait (and read the final installment of the Top 30, of course).

In deference to our final hockey-less month, I thought I would just muse a little on some hockey related topics. Read more »

Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 2, Henrik Lundqvist (1) vs. Martin Rucinsky (9)

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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. The first round ended yesterday with Brandon Dubinsky (2) defeating Jody Shelley (15). Today, the second round begins, with #1 Henrik Lundqvist, who beat #16 Olli Jokinen in the first round, taking on #9 Martin Rucinsky, who beat #8 Nigel Dawes last round.

Henrik Lundqvist (Acquired – 2000 draft, round 7)

Hank is Hank. He’s a five-time Vezina Finalist, he’s won the award once. He’s been the backbone of the team, and the best goalie in the world. Not really much else to say here.

Martin Rucinsky (Acquired – 2005 unrestricted free agent) Read more »

Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Brandon Dubinsky (2) vs. Jody Shelley (15)

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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. Yesterday we saw #7 Brian Boyle beat #10 Nik Zherdev. Today’s matchup is #2 Brandon Dubinsky vs. #15 Jody Shelley, and it is the final matchup of the first round.

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.

Jody Shelley (acquired – 2010 trade with San Jose)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Brian Boyle (7) vs. Nik Zherdev (10)

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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. Yesterday we saw #3 Michael Nylander beat #14 Jason Strudwick. Today’s matchup is #7 Brian Boyle vs. #10 Nik Zherdev.

Brian Boyle (acquired – 2009 trade with LA)

When the Rangers acquired then-RFA Brian Boyle for a third round pick in the 2010 draft (Jordan Weal), most thought this was a bad trade and a terrible overpayment just so we could have “our own 2003 1st round pick.” Boyle was used in a bottom-six capacity and really thrived in that role with the Rangers, with both Tom Renney and John Tortorella. His 21-goal season may have been a blip and he’s more likely to be in the 5-10 goal, 10-20 point range. That said, he’s one of the top defensive forwards in the game, and he is someone that AV will rely on heavily for defensive zone draws.

Over his four seasons in New York, Boyle has a scoring line of 38-34-72 while missing just 21 games over those four seasons. As a fourth line center (note: I believe he’s misused as a third line center, something that AV will likely rectify), there are very few that hold a candle to the effectiveness of Boyle.

Nik Zherdev (acquired – 2008 trade with Columbus)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Michael Nylander (3) vs. Jason Strudwick (14)

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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. Yesterday we saw #6 Michael Del Zotto beat #11 Ryan Hollweg. Today’s matchup is #3 Michael Nylander vs. #14 Jason Strudwick.

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.

Jason Studwick (acquired – 2004 unrestricted free agent)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Michael Del Zotto (6) vs. Ryan Hollweg (11)

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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. Yesterday we saw #4 Derek Stepan beat #13 Lauri Korpikoski. Today’s matchup is #6 Michael Del Zotto vs. #11 Ryan Hollweg.

Michael Del Zotto (acquired – 2008 draft, 1st round)

Del Zotto is probably one of the more under appreciated Rangers in recent memory. MDZ forced his way on to the roster in 2009 as a 19 year old and showed why the Rangers drafted him in the first round, putting up 9-28-37. He struggled defensively, and his poor decision making actually led to a demotion for the 2010-2011 season, when he spent 11 games in Hartford after putting up just 2-9-11 in 47 games for the Rangers. His sophomore season was a step backwards, but since then Del Zotto has been steadily improving on both sides of the puck.  He has earned his top-four minutes and became someone the coaching staff trusts, which says something when that coach is (was) John Tortorella.

In his four year career, Del Zotto has a line of 24-86-110 in 250 games. As he continues to improve, the now 23 year old Del Zotto will hopefully prove most doubters wrong.

Ryan Hollweg (acquired – 2001 draft, 8th round)

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Best post-lockout Ranger: Round 1, Derek Stepan (4) vs. Lauri Korpikoski (13)

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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. Yesterday we saw #5 Vinny Prospal beat #12 Steve Valiwuette. Today’s matchup is #4 Derek Stepan vs. #13 Lauri Korpikoski.

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, but there will be a deal in place before the season starts.

Lauri Korpikoski (acquired – 2004 draft, 1st round)

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