New York Rangers: The 20 Most Beloved Players of the Post-Lockout Era

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New York Rangers: The 20 Most Beloved Players of the Post-Lockout Era
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Following the NHL lockout and cancellation of the 2004-2005 NHL season, the New York Rangers were a disgraced franchise, tied down by a long list of bad contracts and unfulfilled promises. 

Led by former superstar Jaromir Jagr, goaltender Kevin Weekes and the return of a handful of young players, the Rangers were projected by Sports Illustrated to finish dead last in the NHL entering the 2005-2006 season. 

That season, however, saw the emergence of several key players that led to rapid success and the beginning of a new organizational philosophy: build from within.

In the post-lockout era, the free agent-chasing, over-spending Rangers had a become a force to be reckoned with, using the draft and a commitment to player development to earn their first playoff berth in over a decade. 

In six seasons since the lockout, the Rangers have missed the playoffs only once and earned back the respect and devotion of a fanbase that had waned in passion since the team's 1994 Stanley Cup run.

Unlike the high-priced free agent talent that fans had been forced to root for in the earlier part of the decade, the Rangers players of the post-lockout era became a young, hard-working, blue-collar group with which fans could easily identify.  Here is one writer's take on the 20 most beloved Rangers players of the last seven years.

Note: This list is meant to reflect the most beloved players and not necessarily the players with the most goals or points (i.e. the absence of Scott Gomez and Nikolai Zherdev).

Honorable Mention: Ryan Hollweg, Michal Rozsival, Vinny Prospal

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