A rumour started circulating around the twittersphere this morning about the possibility that the Toronto Marlies may have another addition to their team via the signing of free agent defenseman Paul Ranger. Who is that you may ask and why is that name so familiar? Well that is exactly what went through my head as I went off to investigate!
Wow, came across mounds and mounds of speculation on the forums with respect Ranger but little else. What was indeed factual in nature indicated that in October of 2009, 8 games into the NHL season the promising 25 year old two way defensemen abruptly requested personal leave from the Tampa Bay Lightning and did not return. Regardless of the reason, Ranger has now become a bit of an enigma after being out of the league for over two and a half years. The reasons are his own but his hockey upside definitely warrants investigation and this sounds like a savvy signing if indeed true as there is absolutely nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain.
Ok, so what do we have here. A promising 27 year old two way defensemen who was know to be extremely mobile, has decent size at 6’2″ 215lbs with a monster slapshot from the point and who many held in high regard when he was still playing. Heck, he’s rated an 82 overall on my Xbox version of NHL 11 so he must be good 😛
The 31 point season sounds promising with 10 goals and 21 assists and you have to remember who Tampa Bay had in net that season to get a better idea of the reasons behind that +/- (note: it was Mike Smith BEFORE he found his game and Kari Ramo, yikes!)
If true this is a solid signing with little risk and with a year to figure out his game in the AHL (and I assume a real good look during camp) and whether or not he truly wants to return to the game, this is a no brainer. Good jobs boys (and girls)!.