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 #2 Martin Straka take out #15 Wojtek Wolski. Today’s matchup is #1 Jaromir Jagr vs. #16 Wade Redden:
Jaromir Jagr (acquired – 2004 trade with Washington)
The Rangers acquired Jagr in a trade with the Capitals that saw Anson Carter head over to Washington in exchange for Jagr and cash. The cash part being the Rangers paying just $4.94 million of Jagr’s $8 million salary, which was a huge boost in the salary cap era. As for Jagr himself, he set Ranger records for goals (54) and points (123) in a season in his first year on Broadway. He followed that up with a 96 point season (30-66) and a 71 point season (25-46) before departing for the KHL. In each of those three seasons, Jagr played all 82 games, which is something he had never done in his entire career.
In Jagr’s 3 post-lockout seasons, he put together a line of 109-201-310 in 246 games, clearly the highest three-year offensive output in a long time for the Rangers, if not ever (I really think this is the greatest three year offensive span in Ranger history. Please correct me if I’m wrong). Henrik Lundqvist may have been the reason why the Rangers were successful post-lockout, especially in those first few seasons, but Jaromir Jagr made them matter. He gave the fans a reason to care again.
Wade Redden (acquired – 2008 unrestricted free agent)
Redden was signed to an ill-advised 6 year contract worth $6.5 million after the 2007-2008 season. Many screamed that this was a horrible deal, and that is exactly what it wound up being. Clearly on the decline before hitting free agency, Redden regressed even more, putting up just 5 goals and 40 points in 155 games before spending the rest of his Ranger career in the AHL. Redden, simply put, did not live up to his contract. In his defense, any one of us would have taken that deal if handed to us. Also, very few free agents actually live up to the deals they sign.
Although on-ice Redden was a failure, off-ice Redden was nothing short of miraculous. Redden gets a bad rap, but he mentored players in the minors, specifically Ryan McDonagh. Redden is one of those guys who will probably make a pretty good coach one day. He’s also a class-act, and he handled his situation in New York –specifically his demotion– better than every single professional athlete out there, including one Sean Avery.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Jagr or Redden? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Jagr), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Redden). Voting ends at midnight tonight.