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 #6 Michael Del Zotto beat #11 Ryan Hollweg. Today’s matchup is #3 Michael Nylander vs. #14 Jason Strudwick.
Michael Nylander (acquired – 2004 unrestricted free agent)
When initially signed, Nylander was looked at with the same doubt as Marty Straka. How was Nylander supposed to help this Ranger team make the playoffs? Well, he answered that in a big way over his two seasons in New York, putting together 79 and 83 point seasons while clicking with Straka and Jaromir Jagr. The three of them (with Henrik Lundqvist) put the Rangers back on the map of relevance. Nylander’s two years with the Rangers saw him put together a line of 49-113-162 in 160 games.
The Rangers eventually let Nylander walk after the 2006-2007 season when Washington offered him a four-year deal. Nylander never clicked in Washington, and was out of the NHL just two years later. The Rangers decided to let him walk to sign both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.
Jason Studwick (acquired – 2004 unrestricted free agent)
Strudwick was signed by the Rangers to serve as a depth defenseman, and he did exactly that for the better part of three seasons. Strudwick was never relied upon as a minutes-eating defenseman, but he played fairly well in the Tom Renney system, putting up 4-5-9 in 125 games over three seasons. Strudwick is actually interesting, because the Rangers let him go to the Swiss league during the 2006-2007 season, only to re-sign him for eight games later that season. Strudwick was what you expected from a depth defenseman: capable, but not the best option.
The Rangers eventually let Strudwick leave for Edmonton in the summer of 2008, where he played three more NHL seasons.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Nylander or Strudwick? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Nylander), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Strudwick). Voting ends at midnight tonight.