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. Today the second round continues with #1 Marc Staal vs. #8 Chris Drury.
Just a note: I am on vacation. The tournament posts are still going up, but I had to schedule them in advance, so the winners of the previous matchups won’t be posted in the picture until I get back next week. I am still keeping track though.
Marc Staal (acquired – 2005 draft, 1st round)
The Rangers traded up in the 2005 draft, surrendering their 1st round pick (#16 – Alex Bourret) and 2nd round pick (#41 – Ondrej Pavelec) to Atlanta for the #12 pick, which they used on Staal. Staal broke in with the Rangers during his first professional season, and by his second season had proved himself worthy of top-pairing minutes. Not a noted scorer, Staal has primarily been a shutdown defenseman, putting up 24-73-97 in 388 games. Staal played almost every game of the season for his first three years, before a concussion sidelined him for the majority of the 2011-2012 season. A freak eye injury sidelined him for half of the 2013 season as well.
When healthy, Staal is a top-two defenseman on a team that is competing for a Stanley Cup. When 75%, he’s still a top-four defenseman.
Chris Drury (acquired – 2007 unrestricted free agent)
Drury will forever be linked to the 2007 free agency binge that the Rangers went on. The club inked the former Sabres captain to a five year deal with a cap hit of $7.05m per season. Following back-to-back 30-goal, 65-point seasons, Drury did not find the same success on the stat sheet when coming to New York. That said, he still put up a pair of 20-goal, 55-point campaigns. That’s not exactly bad for a guy who was signed to be the second line center (Scott Gomez was the top center, if we remember correctly). Drury was also named captain of the team, and had the respect of the locker room.
Drury’s balky knee was eventually his undoing, as he could not keep up with a high-intensity Torts style. The team bought Drury out in 2011, and Drury retired a few months later. Overall, Drury put up a line of 62-89-149 in 264 games, with 47-67-114 coming in his first two years (163 games).
So who do you think is the better Ranger, Staal or Drury? Vote thumbs up for the higher seed (Staal), or thumbs down for the lower seed (Drury). Voting ends at midnight tonight.