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 #9 Mats Zuccarello upset #8 Scott Gomez. Today’s matchup is #5 Brandon Prust vs. #12 Nik Antropov:
Brandon Prust (acquired – 2010 trade with Calgary)
Brandon Prust was initially the throw-in with Olli Jokinen that the Rangers acquired for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik. However, he won over the hearts of Rangers fans everywhere with his blue collar play, hustle, work ethic, and his willingness to drop the gloves on a regular basis. His first full season with the Rangers was Prust’s best of his career, putting up a line of 13-16-29 while playing on the third line with Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko. This line started just 40% of their shifts in the offensive zone, making it difficult for Prust to even hit these kind of numbers. His second and final full year with the Rangers had less offense, but more of a defensive role as Torts line-matched the trio often.
All told, Prust’s contributions to the Rangers are measured off the stat page. His 22-33-55 line in 190 games doesn’t touch on the way he sparked the team on the ice. The Rangers –rightfully– let him walk after Montreal offered him a four-year deal worth $2.5 million annually.
Nik Antropov (acquired – 2009 trade with Toronto)
Antropov was acquired by the Rangers to be a #2 center as the Rangers geared up for a 2009 playoff run, sending a 2009 2nd round pick to the Maple Leafs. Antropov was pretty effective for the Rangers, putting up 7-6-13 in 18 regular season games. The Rangers lost to the Caps in seven games in the first round of the playoffs, with Antropov scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist. His two goals was tied for the team lead, and his three points put him in a tie for third in playoff scoring for the Rangers. It’s not like the Rangers gave away their only 2nd round pick either, as they had two picks in that round.
Antropov turned his strong play with the Rangers into a four year deal in Atlanta. His 28 goals in that 2008-2009 season (21 with the Leafs, 7 with the Rangers) is still his highest goal total for his career.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Prust or Antropov? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Prust), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Antropov). Voting ends at midnight tonight.