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 #13 Petr Sykora upset #4 Sean Avery. Today’s matchup is #3 Rick Nash vs. #14 Steve Eminger. You might notice we skipped #6 Petr Prucha vs. #11 Paul Mara, but since I expect that to be a close vote, I want to run that on Monday.
Rick Nash (acquired – 2012 trade with Columbus)
Nash came to the Rangers in an offseason blockbuster that sent Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a 2013 1st round pick (Kerby Rychel) to the Blue Jackets for Nash, Steven Delisle, and a 2013 3rd round pick (Pavel Buchnevich). Nash was everything that was advertised for the Rangers, putting up 21 goals and 42 points in 44 games. Over an 82-game season, that averages out to about 40 goals and 80 points. Nash is the game breaker that the Rangers have needed desperately. With Nash, they have someone who can draw the opposition’s top defenders and still come out with a dominant shift.
It is necessary to point out that with Nash, the Rangers were expected to be a dominant offensive force. However, the struggles of Gaborik and Richards threw a wrench into that, leading to Gaborik’s trade for key depth players. None of that is on Nash, who performed in a manner that we expected.
Steve Eminger (acquired – 2010 trade with Anaheim)
The Rangers picked up Eminger in the 2010 offseason, sending Aaron Voros and Ryan Hillier to the Ducks for the defenseman. His offensive line with the Rangers isn’t much (4-7-9 in three seasons), but Eminger meant more to the Rangers than offensive point totals. Eminger –who might be seeded a bit low– provided defensive depth and stability, proving he can play in any situation for the Rangers. He ranged from healthy scratch to top-four minutes, showing he could easily adapt to whatever need the Rangers had.
Eminger was not re-signed this offseason by the Rangers, as they decided to go in another direction with defensive depth.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Nash or Eminger? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Nash), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Eminger). Voting ends at midnight tonight.