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 Ryan McDonagh blow out #14 Mike Rupp. Today’s matchup is #7 Blair Betts vs. #10 Marcel Hossa:
Blair Betts (acquired – 2004 trade with Flames)
Betts became a Ranger during the 2004 fire sale, when the Rangers sent Chris Simon and a 7th round pick to Calgary for Betts, Greg Moore, and Jaime McLennan. Betts made the team outright in 2005-2006, and was one of the more steady players in the Tom Renney regime. All told, Betts missed just 23 games over four seasons with the Rangers, playing solid fourth line minutes while being a key penalty killer. Not known for his offense, Betts put together a line of 25-15-40 over those four years (305 games). Betts’ Ranger career came to an end with this cheap shot from Donald Brashear in the 2009 playoffs. To add insult to injury, the Rangers signed Brashear to a two-year contract that offseason.
Betts was one of those guys who fit under the less-aggressive Tom Renney, but didn’t have the footspeed to stick with a John Tortorella club. It is worth noting that Betts didn’t get a pro contract from any team during the offseason, and had to earn his place with the Flyers on a PTO. However, the Rangers have yet to find a fourth line center that could eat minutes since Betts wasn’t re-signed.
Marcel Hossa (acquired – 2005 trade with Canadiens)
The Rangers acquired the other Hossa from Montreal in exchange for Garth Murray, and Hossa’s career was defined by inconsistency. In his two full seasons with the Rangers, Hossa put together two ten goal seasons, with six and eight assists each. Hossa was one of those guys that bounced from the fourth line to the top line –with Jaromir Jagr– while the Rangers struggled to find offensive chemistry. The pairing with Jagr and Brandon Dubinsky was actually partially successful, as the line generally showed creativity, but it was short-lived as Renney’s line juggling to find offense continued. In the end, Hossa finished his two-and-a-half year Ranger career with a line of 21-21-42 in 164 games.
Hossa was eventually sent to Phoenix –with Al Montoya– for a package of Frederick Sjostrom, David LeNeveu, Josh Gratton, and a 5th round draft choice (Roman Horak). We all know Horak as the guy that got sent to Calgary in a deal for Tim Erixon. Erixon was later sent to Columbus in the Rick Nash trade. So in a way, acquiring Hossa led to landing Rick Nash. Scary, right?
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Betts or Hossa? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Betts), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Hossa). Voting ends at midnight tonight.