The Maple Leafs have signed former Toronto Marlie and Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Paul Ranger to a one-year, $1,000,000 NHL contract. With Paul Ranger added to the mix, a cap clearing measure will surely have to follow, at least eventually, with Franson, Kadri and Fraser left to re-sign and only 6 or so million in cap space remaining.
Ranger was a top-4 calibre guy for the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to taking a three-year leave from the game at the start of the 2009-10 season. A big, strong-skating two-way rearguard with a big left handed shot, Ranger actually played a good deal of time on Tampa’s top-2 pairing. In 2007-08 and 2008-09, Paul Ranger averaged 25:13 and 24:30 in time on ice respectively. John Tortorella, Ranger’s head coach when he broke the league as a rookie, described his first-pass as one of the best in the league already.
After his lengthy leave for mysterious personal reasons, Ranger started working his way back into the game by coaching the Whitby Wildcats bantam team and signed with the Marlies last season on an AHL contract, with the word that he was interested in playing in the AHL only at that time. He appears ready to take a run at an NHL job. At this point it would be a reach to rely on him to play a top 4 role, but it could be something he plays his way back into. My preference was to pay him as a 5-6 depth option, having no clue where his game stands at the NHL level currently. At a million dollar cap hit, this seems like a very worthwhile flyer to take.
It’s a commendable little high-reward, low-risk move by Nonis. Worst case, Ranger is demoted to the AHL and he either gets claimed on waivers or the Leafs have to eat $75,000 on the cap to have him as an injury replacement/depth option on the Marlies ($1,000,000 cap hit – $925,000 in bury-able salary). Best case, they have a steal of a deal on a player who works his way back into a top 4 role at the NHL level.
Paul Ranger was NHL calibre in the AHL last season. Said he wanted one full year with Marlies before deciding on return to NHL #Leafs
— Kyle Cicerella (@KyleTheReporter) July 24, 2013
Ranger takes out Malkin in his Lightning days:
An example of his big shot from last season with the Marlies: