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Who Is More Important To New York Rangers This 2013-14 Season: Rick Nash or Ryan Callahan?

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Who Is More Important To The New York Rangers This 2013-14 Season...Rick Nash or Ryan Callahan?

Who Is More Important To The New York Rangers This 2013-14 Season...Rick Nash or Ryan Callahan?
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The elite goal scorer or the captain? Rick Nash or Ryan Callahan?

Both of these players are currently injured for the New York Rangers and the team has definitely suffered without them. Goal scoring and finishing off plays have always seemed to come far and few between for the Rangers, and that is with both Nash and Callahan in the lineup, so just imagine what it is like without them.

Now the Rangers have won their last two games, but in both have failed to score over three goals, which is their high watermark so far in this early 2013-14 NHL regular season. I think it is safe to say that without scoring more than three goals in a game all year, which is now one month down, that this is a direct result of the limited amount of games both Callahan and Nash have played for the Rangers this season. Plus, it is also safe to say that a max of three goals per game will not make you win many games in a row, and the Rangers know this.

It is very obvious that a healthy Callahan and Nash is critical for the Rangers to have any type of success this year, but which one is more valuable to them this season? Now it definitely looks as such that Callahan (broken thumb) will be the first to return to the Rangers lineup, not Nash (concussion), but with the Rangers lack of goal scoring, would it actually benefit the Rangers more if it were Nash, the goal scorer, that was coming back first?

Only one way to find out. Click next and enjoy the slideshow. Feel free to leave any and all opinions below.

Steven Carollo is a New York Rangers’ and sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, add him on Facebook, connect with him on LinkedIn and join his Google network.

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5) Offense

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It's not so clear cut as one would think.

Yes, Nash is the elite goal scorer, and has been his entire career, but Callahan's offensive ability cannot be overlooked.

In a lockout-shortened 48-game season last year, Nash scored 21 goals in 44 games and Callahan scored 16 in 45. Plus, Callahan always plants himself in front of the net during a Rangers' power play and makes life miserable for the opposing goaltender, whether it's screening, deflecting shots or putting in rebounds for garbage goals, Callahan is very underrated offensively.

With all that being said, however, Nash's pure goal-scoring ability plus his size, strength and skating, which always opens up the ice and creates prime scoring chances, just cannot be duplicated by Callahan. A healthy Nash is an offensive machine and therefore he is the winner in this category.

Winner: Rick Nash.

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4) Defense

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

OK, this one isn't even close in my book. This is Callahan all the way.

Callahan is arguably the best defensive forward in the game today, not just because of his defensive awareness, but also his fear of nothing out on the ice. Callahan always plays at 100 percent, especially out on the penalty kill, which is one of his specialties. The way he constantly sacrifices his body to block shots and take hits in order to clear the puck out of the defensive zone for such a small guy is just amazing and is something that Nash cannot even come close to duplicating in my eyes.

Winner: Ryan Callahan.

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3) Forechecking

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Another no-brainer.

Forechecking has Callahan written all over it. The amount of turnovers Callahan forces on a nightly basis when he is on the ice leads to so many scoring opportunities for players like Nash to take advantage and put one in the back of the net. Yes, Nash might get credit for the goal, but who did all the work to lead to that goal?

Absolutely fearless is Callahan while on the forecheck. The way he will go after and check much larger defensemen, like Zdeno Chara, without any fear of injury is simply astounding. Nash might forecheck on occasion, but he does not even come close to the persistence and effectiveness of when Callahan is on the forecheck prowl.

Winner: Ryan Callahan.

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2) Leadership

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Is there really any question as to who wins this? I mean Callahan is the captain for a reason, is he not?

Just look at the picture above. Look how he leads by example, and like I mentioned a few slides ago, is not afraid to sacrifice his body to block shots and help his team win game in and game out.

Now does Nash have any influence and show leadership in the Rangers' locker room?

I am sure he does, being that he was the captain of his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, but definitely not to the extent as Callahan.

The winner of this is category is extremely obvious.

Winner: Ryan Callahan.

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1) Overall/Final Ruling

Overall/Final Ruling
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Now for my final ruling...

Overall, I believe it is obvious that Ryan Callahan is more important to the Rangers this season. Callahan just has more influence on the outcome of games that he plays in than Rick Nash, even though Nash is the elite goal scorer on the team and the Rangers struggle offensively scoring goals. It is definitely ironic, but it is very true. Nash might score the goals, but who creates them?

The answer to that would be the captain, leader, pulse and arguably the heart and soul of the Rangers alongside goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Now, while the Rangers do need both players to come back as soon as they can, I do think it is best for the team for Callahan to be back from injury first, and with every passing day, it looks more and more as if that will indeed happen.

Not trying to take anything away from Nash, but the majority has spoken... Or in this case, me.

Winner: Ryan Callahan.

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