- Played in the NHL YoungStars Game
By the time Ranger attended his first rookie camp for the Tampa Bay Lightning in August of 2002 he was still just 17 years old making him by far the youngest Lightning prospect attending the camp. He did not, however, look out of place amongst his older peers and returned to the OHL poised for a breakout season. In 2002-2003 Paul Ranger had 10 goals and 38 points in 68 games and made a reputation for himself as one of the most mobile and offensively aggressive defensemen in the OHL. In his final campaign in 2003-2004, Ranger set career highs with 12 goals and 43 points and was nominated by Oshawa for the Max Kaminsky Trophy for the best defenseman in the Ontario Hockey League. He also represented the Western Conference in the 2004 OHL All-Star Game. In the summer of 2004, Ranger was signed to a standard three year entry level contract by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ranger's stint in Springfield would be a short one however. In two preseason games with the Falcons Ranger registered 1 goal and 2 assists including the overtime game winning goal in the preseason finale against the Hartford Wolfpack. Then, in the season opener, Ranger potted the game winning goal and 2 assists in a 4-2 victory over the Portland Pirates. At the recommendation of Springfield head coach Dirk Graham, the Tampa Bay Lightning recalled Paul Ranger on 10-14-05. The next day, Ranger made his debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 3-1 Lightning victory.
At 6.02, 215 lbs, Ranger has good size but even more importantly he's extremely mobile. In skills testing at the CHL Top Prospects Game in 2002 his performance in the skating events rated comparable to that of top defenseman draft choice Jay Bouwmeester. Ranger also possesses a hard slap shot although he tends to prefer to rely on a sharp, accurate wrist shot from the point. Coach John Tortorella has also praised Paul Ranger's prowess at making strong breakout passes. Above all though, when Ranger is on top of his game he's the most offensively aggressive defenseman to ever come through this system save only Dan Boyle.
Ranger is still learning how to use his size to his advantage, particularly in his own third of the ice. He's gotten more physical as the years have progressed and he has filled into his frame, but there are still times he shies away from contact. Often he gets away with it due to his outstanding ability to slip and duck checks, but Ranger would be even more effective in pursuit if he would use his 215 pound frame to separate opposing forwards from the puck more consistently. Beyond that, he merely needs more time and experience to become more confident in his offensive abilities at the NHL level.
Jay Feaster was quoted in the summer of 2005 as believing that Ranger had the most raw potential of any defenseman in the Lightning organization at the time. That's considerable praise given the amount of high draft choices the Lightning have used on defensemen in recent years. Feaster also considers Ranger the Lightning's top offensive defenseman prospect while Head Scout Jake Goertzen believes Ranger is on track to become a top-4 caliber defenseman in this league.
Bolt Prospects agrees. Ranger was just a month past his 22nd birthday when he made his NHL debut for the Lightning. Despite his young age, Ranger was quickly promoted to playing on a top pairing with veteran Dan Boyle. Ranger is already playing 15 minutes a night at the NHL level and performing with a level of play and consistency rarely seen from prospects his age. Once he gets more comfortable with the NHL and begins to earn more power play time, Ranger is very likely to become a 25-30+ point a year top-four defenseman in this league. Moreover, with his mobility, he should become a defenseman capable of eating up 20-25 minutes a night easily once he fully adjusts to hockey's top level.
|OHL All-Stars||CHL Challenge||2||0||2||2||0||||
|2005-2006||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||76||1||17||18||58|||||Playoffs||5||2||4||6||0|
|2006-2007||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||72||4||24||28||42|||||Playoffs||6||0||1||1||4|
|2007-2008||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||72||10||21||31||56||||
|2008-2009||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||42||2||11||13||56||||
|2009-2010||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||8||1||1||2||6||||
|2010-2011||Did not play||||
|2011-2012||Did not play||||
|2013-2014||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||53||6||8||14||36||||
Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com
Finally, the Lightning manage 3 goals support for Ramo and they get a point out of the deal. It isn't rocket science.
Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 29 shots before getting roughed up in the extra session to take the penalty shot loss.
Tampa Bay 13:29, Andreas Karlsson 1 (Jan Hlavac, Shane O'Brien)
Toronto 3:23, Jason Blake 6 (Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle)
Toronto 9:39, Mats Sundin 18 (Jason Blake)
Tampa Bay 10:08, Martin St. Louis 14 (Vaclav Prospal, Vincent Lecavalier)
Toronto 17:27, Hal Gill 2 (Jason Blake, Pavel Kubina)
Tampa Bay 19:19, Paul Ranger 7 (Vaclav Prospal, Vincent Lecavalier)
What gives HF? Seriously.
Look, we're long past the point of expecting anything resembling objectivity considering one of your top writers was once quoted as claiming Blair Jones was "trash" because he was a 4th round pick, but can you guys at least acknowledge that Mike Lundin (another 4th round pick, so I guess that makes him "trash" too) has made the NHL? Is that really too much to ask?
The streak is over. Lets start a winning one.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 22 of 23 shots faced for the win.
Florida 8:46, Kamil Kreps 1 (Mike Van Ryn)
Tampa Bay 19:02, Vincent Lecavalier 8 (empty net) (Vaclav Prospal, Paul Ranger)
Unforced errors cost the Lightning the game.
Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 28 shots in the loss.
Washington 4:43, Dave Steckel 1 (Alexander Ovechkin, Viktor Kozlov)
Tampa Bay 7:27, Paul Ranger 1 (shorthanded) (Brad Richards, Jason Ward)
Washington 17:41, Brooks Laich 2 (Matt Pettinger, Shaone Morrisonn)
Washington 18:42, Chris Clark 2 (Brian Pothier, Michael Nylander)
3-0-0 is a great start. However, I was not impressed with the team's play tonight.
Make no mistake about it, Johan Holmqvist stole the win tonight with a 30 saves on 31 shots effort that included multiple odd man rushes and breakaways. He got the win despite the Lightning being outshot 31-23 by an inferior opponent.
Tomorrow's headline should read: "Paper Champions Get Folded Up".
Johan Holmqvist barely had to break a sweat stopping 13 of 15 shots he faced for the win.
Tampa Bay 5:22, Vincent Lecavalier 3 (unassisted)
Atlanta 8:58, Slava Kozlov 1 (Tobias Enstrom, Todd White)
Opening night wins are a good thing.
New Jersey 9:06, Brian Gionta 1 (power play) (Zach Parise, Travis Zajac)
Tampa Bay lays an egg in what was supposed to be their tune up for the regular season.
Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 14 shots for the loss before giving way to Johan Holmqvist who allowed 1 goal on 18 shots.
No matter how you slice this, tonight's result was disappointing considering this supposedly was the lineup John Tortorella wants in place on opening night. The poor result was further compounded by more injury issues as forward Nick Tarnasky had his nose broken in a fight and defenseman Paul Ranger left the game with a minor shoulder injury.
Right now the Lightning have nothing resembling continuity in their forward lines or their defensive pairings due to injuries resulting in precious few opportunities for units to work together at game speed to get their timing. As a consequence the Lightning were outshot 32-23 tonight and, frankly, there are no quick fixes. The Lightning will have to try to get healthy again and grind it out over the first few weeks of the season and try to keep their heads above water while the rust and the growing pains are shaken off.
The Lightning were fortunate to have dressed an extra defenseman tonight and Paul Ranger's minutes were partially absorbed by the three headed monster of Mike Lundin, Matt Smaby, and Doug Janik. Unfortunately, the three were a combined -5 in the game.
Lundin led the group in ice time with 20:27 but was -2 with no shots on goal and no hits for the contest. Smaby had the second most ice time at 14:36 and was -1 with 1 hit. Janik brought up the rear with 12:32 of ice time and a -2 rating. Both Smaby and Janik also took penalties for tripping and hooking, respectively.
According to Tampabaylightning.com, day one of camp scrimmages ended in a 1-1 tie between Team Black and Team White. Team White's goal was scored by winger Kyle Wanvig off assists from Brad Richards and Doug Janik while Team Black's goal was scored by Vincent Lecavalier off assists from Vaclav Prospal and Paul Ranger.
Wanvig and Janik continue to make a strong impression after good showings in camp during physical testing on Thursday and Friday. Erik Erlendsson also notes in his blog that Wanvig was displaying a strong physical presence throughout the game to go with his goal. The Lightning's top-12 forwards appeared to be set going into training camp, but Wanvig appears to be playing his way into the discussion of who will be the first forward called up at the very least.
Erlendsson notes none of the defensemen vying for the team's #6 and #7 defenseman jobs separated from the pack, and that all three goaltenders played well with wunderkind Karri Ramo stopping 16 of 16 shots faced including a penalty shot by rookie pro Mike Lundin.