We continue our selection of the perfect Rangers team for 1988-present by shifting to the defense. Friday, I posted the forwards following the completion of the voting. The forward results are below and I will track who was selected for right and left defensemen as well as pairings building two teams..
In line with the forward, below you will find a list of possible first pairing defensemen, both left and right, for 1988 to present. I have listed the names alphabetically and then posted the poll for each spot. Once the overall team is selected, I then will list all the roster proposals you posted in the prior blog comments along with mine. It be interesting to see how the general consensus compares to each of our selections.
In the poll, I have listed lines for selection to compare to the individual options, as it might also be intriguing to see how the ‘made’ up trios compare to some actual lines utilized by the Blueshirts. In addition, some overlap exists between those already proposed as possible first line options to players listed below for second line based on the names and their role on the team. Therefore, a handful of names you see below were also presented as first line options and I have noted where that is the case.
A few reminders
1) Cut off for eligibility is to be 170 games or two-plus seasons as a Ranger, but have used some leeway in a several instances. Once you get past the first liners, a substantive number of players that are options for the second and to a certain extent third line skated in far less than 170 games, so I am using 110 games as the cut-off point. This number was slightly modified for line combinations.
2) Overlap will exist between those listed as first team and then second team due to fluidity of d-man usage in games. Also, I may run the same blog a few times to pick the second team first line defenseman, even though I have tweaked the poll to allow for more than one player to be selected. If looking for Lowe, Zubov, Samuelsson, Staal, Stralman, MDZ, etc., they all be listed as second pair blueliners.
3) Selection should be based on their production and role in New York, not output while with other teams
4) If you feel I have missed any names, please let me know and I will add those to the poll. This is especially so for the first liners who readers feel are truly second liners and belong on the list for voting.
5) In the case of Ron Greschner, most of his production is from 71-87, therefore he will be listed there rather than in this blog, since he played just 113 games from ’88 forward.
First pair, left defenseman
Brian Leetch, and Ryan McDonagh
First pair, right defenseman
Jeff Beukeboom, Dan Girardi and James Patrick
First pair, line combinations
Forwards based on the vote
Adam Graves-Mark Messier-Jaromir Jagr
Tony Granato-Petr Nedved-Theo Fleury
Esa Tikkanen-Sergei Nemchinov-Sean Avery
Brandon Prust-Brian Boyle-Jesper Fast
(I kept Avery in, based on his early play in New York. Following his departure and return, his play tailed off dramatically. I am still open to thoughts here as debated replacing Avery with Michael Grabner, who is on the second team below and sliding Niklas Sundstrom, who I think was far better player into the second team. Let me know your thoughts as this may be a change I make)
Alexei Kovalev-Wayne Gretzky-Mike Gartner
Brandon Dubinsky-Doug Weight-Tomas Sandstrom
Carl Hagelin-Derick Brassard-Michael Grabner
Darren Langdon-Dominic Moore-Joe Kocur
Fleury-Lindros-York (FLY line)
Dubinsky-Stepan-Callahan (the Young Americans)
With all the RFAs signed, I am not expecting much traction elsewhere. Maybe we see a minor-league signing or player offered a PTO and a long-shot of a trade, but I am not expecting much until maybe the latter part of the month or early September. Until then, open to blog ideas. We can play with line combinations - early hint, Kevin Hayes will not be on my fourth line - or focus elsewhere. Let me know what you are thinking and would want to see.