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The 2006-07 OTG Awards - Vol. 2
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ - August 14, 2007

by The OTG Staff

In our last edition we took a look at the best and brightest of the Rangers 2006-07 season as voted on by you the readers of OTG. This week we take a look at the less impressive side of the team, focussing on the second half of our OTG Award Polls.

Unsurprisingly three defensemen figured prominently in the voting, with Sandis Ozolinsh, Aaron Ward and Darius Kasparaitis all picking up titles. But it was Adam Hall who picked up the least coveted title of Rangers' LVP.

Least Valuable Player - Adam Hall
Previous Winners: Alexei Kovalev, Eric Lindros, Petr Nedved, Sandis Ozolinsh
Generally in the past it has been a high profile player that has been voted as the Least Valuable Player by the OTG readers. This year the vote was split between several players, with Adam Hall ultimately edging out last year's winner Sandis Ozolinsh. Last Summer the Rangers acquired Hall from the Nashville predators in exchange for Dominic Moore. The move was generally seen a a positive one by fans given the Rangers desire to add some more size and scoring.

As it turned out, Hall's tenure with the Rangers wouldn't last out the year and he was ultimately moved to the Minnesota Wild (interestingly the same place that Dominic Moore would end up) after he was unable to build chemistry with any of the linemates he was paired with.

As of the writing of this article, Hall is yet to find a take for the 2007-08 season, having not been tendered a qualifying offer by the Wild and becoming a UFA.

Worst Forward - Adam Hall
Previous Winners: Fedor Fedorov, Alexei Kovalev, Eric Lindros, Petr Nedved
There's generally a good correlation between the player picked for the Least Valuable Player honors and this award. In three of the last four years, the Worst Forward has picked up both awards, with the lone exception the 2006 season when a defenseman (Sandis Ozolinsh) picked up LVP.

So it's not at all surprising that we see Adam Hall's name once again. On the positive side, when a third/fourth line forward is considered the worst Rangers forward, it indicates a pretty good season for the team, and this was certainly true down the stretch this past year.

But Hall's inability to contribute much offensively or defensively, and only a limited upgrade on the physical side had many Rangers fans wondering why the Rangers had traded Dominic Moore in the first place.

Worst Defenseman - Sandis Ozolinsh
Previous Winners: Dave Karpa, Sandis Ozolinsh, Tom Poti, Igor Ulanov
Sandis Ozolinsh has the dubious honor of becoming the first player to be selected as the Worst Defenseman on the Rangers two years running. What makes it more surprising is that the Latvian native has managed to play just 40 regular season games over the two seasons.

Going into 2006-07 it appeared as if we may not even see the much maligned defenseman make it to the ice. Off-season surgery to both his knees and a personal battle with alcohol was enhanced by comments from Tom Renney in particular that seemed to suggest that his playing days with the team were over.

But a couple of injuries and some inconsistent form from the team in the early stages of the season gave Ozolinsh the chance to play again, only to reinforce his position as one of the least liked Rangers over the past two seasons.

Ultimately Ozolinsh became a healthy scratch and was on the verge of being assigned to Hartford when he claimed an injury to his knee would prevent him from playing.

Like Hall, Ozolinsh remains unsigned this Summer and appears destined to retire or at best play in Europe.

Biggest Disappointment - Aaron Ward
Previous Winners: Alexei Kovalev, Eric Lindros, Petr Nedved, Sandis Ozolinsh
The 2007 OTG Awards marks the first occasion in which a player other than the LVP has won this award. In previous season the Biggest Disappointment and LVP trophies have typically gone to the player who has most dramatically missed the expectations of the fans.

This year's winner Aaron Ward edged out Adam Hall for the title, courtesy of a season that started solidly, but deteriorated as the year went on, ultimately ending in a spat with Jaromir Jagr and his departure from the team shortly afterwards.

Brought in from the Cup winning Hurricanes to play a physical game on the blueline, Ward missed the mark often and appeared to struggle as the season went on. While not considered a star, many expected to see him make the Rangers' defensive zone a more difficult place to play...the results were not there in the end.

Worst Acquisition - Aaron Ward
Previous Winners: Jan Hlavac, Krzysztof Oliwa, Sandis Ozolinsh, Igor Ulanov
In what was largely a two-horse race with Adam Hall, Aaron Ward picks up his second honors. Ward becomes the third defenseman and first North American selected for this award in the five years of voting by the OTG readers.

Ward's trade-deadline move to the Boston Bruins will see him play once again in Beantown and appear at MSG at least two more times (barring injury or trade).

Worst Trade - Dominic Moore for Adam Hall
Previous Winners: Mike York and pick for Rem Murray/Tom Poti, Future Considerations for Krzysztof Oliwa, Nils Ekman for Chad Wiseman, 3rd round pick for Sandis Ozolinsh
There weren't a lot of disappointed fans when the Rangers announced the trade of Dominic Moore to the Nashville Predators in exchange for winger Adam Hall. Most looked at his goal production and size and thought perhaps the Rangers were getting something that they could really use.

As it turned out neither the goal scoring, nor the implied physicality would turn up in Hall's game, and with the Rangers struggles on defense to start the year, it wasn't long before people wondered about the reasoning behind the trade.

Least Effort Shown - Sandis Ozolinsh
Previous Winners: Alexei Kovalev, Eric Lindros, Petr Nedved, Sandis Ozolinsh
Congratulations are in order for Sandis Ozolinsh, who becomes the first Ranger to be voted for this award two years in a running. Rangers fans will be relieved to hear that there's no chance he'll pick up the award for a third time, and that we'll have an entirely new winner for the coming season.

Worst Loss - May 4th, 2007 1-2 OT v BUF
Previous Winners: March 22nd, 2002 2-5 v ATL, March 26th, 2003 1-3 v PIT, January 24th, 2004 1-9 v OTT, April 22nd, 2006 1-6 v NJD
The time read 19:52:29 on the clock and the Rangers were within seconds of coming back to MSG with a 3-2 series lead over the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference semifinals. At 19:52:30 that all changed courtesy of Chris Drury, who tied the game and allowed the home team to take the game in overtime.

The Sabres returned to MSG to close out the series, handing the Rangers their only home ice loss of the post season.

Worst Value for Money - Darius Kasparaitis
Previous Winners: Sandis Ozolinsh
What is it about overpaid defensemen from the Baltic states? To say Kasparaitis' season was a poor one would be an understatement. After showing up to camp out of shape (at least partly due to off-season surgery), it didn't take long for 'Kaspar' to end up in the dog house with the coaching staff.

Ultimately the Lithuanian native would be sent down to Hartford, first on a conditioning assigment, and then waived and re-assigned. His tenure would be cut short by problems in his personal life and what appeared to be a mental breakdown.

Kasparaitis has reportedly come back looking fit and ready, but it's hard to see how his almost $3M in salary will fit under the cap. Perhaps his only real alternative will be if another team elects to trade for him.


Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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January 16th, 2021
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
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