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)
The Rangers actually traded up to get Korpikoski in the first round, sending their first rounder and a second rounder to Calgary to move up five spots and nab The Korpedo. Korpikoski was underwhelming in his three pro seasons, spending just one with the Rangers in a bottom-six role. His one full year with the Rangers was decent, putting up 6-8-14 in 68 games while spending time on the penalty kill. That said, Korpi didn’t exactly develop into what the Rangers were expecting for their first round pick.
The Rangers eventually dealt Korpikoski to Phoenix for Enver Lisin. He developed into a nice 15-20 goal guy for Phoenix. As for Lisin, well, let’s just say that this is a trade that didn’t really work out for the Rangers.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Stepan or Korpikoski? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Stepan), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Korpikoski). Voting ends at midnight tonight.