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. The first round ended yesterday with Brandon Dubinsky (2) defeating Jody Shelley (15). Today, the second round begins, with #1 Henrik Lundqvist, who beat #16 Olli Jokinen in the first round, taking on #9 Martin Rucinsky, who beat #8 Nigel Dawes last round.
Henrik Lundqvist (Acquired – 2000 draft, round 7)
Hank is Hank. He’s a five-time Vezina Finalist, he’s won the award once. He’s been the backbone of the team, and the best goalie in the world. Not really much else to say here.
Martin Rucinsky (Acquired – 2005 unrestricted free agent)
Rucinsky’s acquisition is a little bit tricky, as he had a few stints with the Rangers. In 2002, the Rangers acquired him and Roman Lyashenko from Dallas for Manny Malhotra and Barrett Heisten. After letting him go in free agency, the Rangers again traded for him in 2004, sending Martin Grenier and RJ Umberger to Vancouver. His contract expired after the lockout season, but Rucinsky re-signed for the one year after the lockout.
For the sake of this tournament, we are only going to focus on Rucinsky’s one season with the Rangers following the 2004-2005 lockout. In that 2005-2006 season, Rucinsky played in 52 games with the Rangers, putting up a line of 16-39-55. Rucinsky’s shining moment came when he flipped off Donald Brashear, which is still one of my favorite post-lockout moments.
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Hank or Rucinsky? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Hank), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Rucinsky). Voting ends at midnight tonight.