"He has been out of the game for personal reasons and sees an opportunity to get back into it and knows the environment we have created here and he feels this is an excellent opportunity for him," said Dave Poulin, the Leafs' vice-president of hockey operations. "This kid can play. I watched him skate yesterday and wow, he can fly. He had some personal challenges off the ice and he has met them and he feels he's in a good position to come back with an organization that is going to support him in every way possible."
"He's a great kid," Lawton told sportsnet.ca. "I was asked if I was surprised that he is going to give it another shot and I said absolutely not. I have been waiting for this day. I'm a little surprised it took him this long to come back. I hope it works out for him."
Lawton believes Ranger is young enough to get back to being a solid NHL defenceman.
"He was a great teammate; the other guys loved him," Lawton said. "He was well-respected and a hard worker. I expect if Paul is 100 per cent behind giving it all he's got that he'll play in the National Hockey League again and he'll be a top-four defencerman."
Asked if he thought Ranger can step back into the NHL after missing the better part of three seasons, ex-teammate Martin St. Louis said yes.
"There's no doubt," St. Louis said. "No doubt in my mind. When he was with us he was so good. He had so much potential. For a guy with Paul's abilities - he's a great athlete; a natural - I don't think it will be too hard for him. I'm happy for him that he's coming back."
Claude Loiselle, the Maple Leafs' assistant general manager, was also the assistant GM in Tampa Bay for a time when Ranger played there. Loiselle played a huge role in Toronto signing the big defenceman and hopes the story will have a happy ending.
"I knew the type of player he was and he's also a great kid in the dressing room," Loiselle said. "To us it is a good story to see him trying to get back on track. He's been out of hockey for two and a half years and starting off with the Marlies is a good way to get him back into the game. When he played with Dan Boyle, he was a pretty good player. When he's on his game he's a top-four defenceman who can move the puck. He's a smart player that can play the power play. When I spoke with him last week he was really excited about this."
So Loiselle (our assistant GM who was also TB's assistant GM) had a huge part in signing Ranger, whom he knows really well.
Nothing to see here folks (well not really, I absolutely agree with smoke mete pete).
Just to clarify as to what I said earlier about it being just a rumour:
I exchanged a text message with a friend who's been working there for a little less than a year coming out of school. We exchanged these text messages around lunch, and I ended up posting last night when I got home (2 and a half hours before he was confirmed as signed).
My friend told me he hadn't heard anything. Perhaps he's not connected enough to be in the correct know, but I thought I'd poke around anyways and let everyone know what he told me.
I'm glad he/we were wrong though, Ranger is a solid player and makes the Marlies a lot better. Could be a 'free wallet' for the Leafs down the line too!
So if they have signed Ranger, why haven't they acknowledged him on their website? He is NOT on the Leafs or Marlies websites as a roster player. Usually they seem to be pretty good with this stuff ( updating the rosters).
Hmmm, Interesting signing, have to admit I don't know much about the guy though.
With our log jam of defensemen you have to think something has to go, as little as Holzer for sure playing up in the NHL, and wonder if this has anything to do with Franson ? hope not.
Anyone know what the dealio is for max number of veteran players on AHL teams is ? Is it just the playoffs that caps the max on vets ?
Perhaps this is finally a sign of our expensive brass flexing it's muscles, and getting us some valuable assets for free, I might also be the only one who has high hopes on Spencer Abbott next season, think he will tear up the AHL !!!