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 #12 Chris Kreider upset #5 Jed Ortmeyer in the closest vote yet. The voting went to overtime and ended at 10:30am this morning. Today’s matchup is #4 Carl Hagelin vs. #13 Derek Morris:
Carl Hagelin (acquired – 2007 draft, 6th round)
Carl Hagelin is the latest of late-round steals by the Rangers. Drafted prior to his freshman year at Michigan, Hagelin was a project pick. He was expected to spend four years at Michigan, and did just that. When the Rangers signed Hagelin, he became the second Wolverines captain to come to the Rangers in a five-year span (Jed Ortmeyer). Many projected he would make the big club out of camp, but Hagelin spent the first two months of the season in Connecticut before his first call up. The puck possession monster put up a line of 14-24-38 in the remaining 64 games that season, and was one of the major turning points of the season for the Rangers.
With all that speed and skill, Hagelin is a bit inconsistent. He shows flashes, but he needs to harness that on a regular basis in order to be a top-flight top-six forward. Right now he is one of the best puck possession forwards in the NHL who will contribute 15-20 goals and 40 or so points. That output puts him at the cusp of the top-six, or one of the best third liners in hockey. Throw in his superb defensive and penalty killing ability, and Hagelin’s value to this club will only go up.
Derek Morris (acquired – 2009 trade with Phoenix)
Morris was a trade deadline acquisition in 2009, acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Dmitri Kalinin, Nigel Dawes, and Petr Prucha. While Kalinin wasn’t exactly a fan favorite, Dawes and Prucha were, and many were outraged by this trade. After all, the Rangers just sent a 30 goal guy and a decent bottom-six winger for a deadline rental. Morris wasn’t a disaster for the Rangers, as he contributed eight assists in his eighteen games with the Rangers, and another two assists in the playoffs. Many will look at his lack of goals during his brief Rangers career, but Morris was never a noted goal scorer. He was heralded as powerplay help, but that may have been unfair for Morris, since he was never a big powerplay scorer, or a scorer in general.
As for Prucha and Dawes, no one really cared about Kalinin, neither were in the NHL much longer. Both are in the KHL, and both seemed to fizzle after the trade. You can argue that both were fizzling with the Rangers, which is why they got so little for them. Either way, the trade itself wasn’t much of a win or a loss.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Hagelin or Morris? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Hagelin), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Morris). Voting ends at midnight tonight.