Once NHL training camps open and teams can start making moves, there is expected to be some wild activity. Yet one of the more intriguing players may not sign anywhere.
Toronto Marlies defenceman Paul Ranger is an unrestricted free agent for NHL purposes and has played extremely well in the American Hockey League.
A veteran of 270 NHL games, he has 18 points in 29 AHL games, including five goals, and shares the league's fourth highest plus/minus rating (+16).
His agent, Joe Resnick, would not comment, but anyone with a passing interest in the sport knows how badly general managers chase defencemen.
There is little doubt that Ranger easily could find a job once play resumes.
It is believed that the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Marlies' parent club, would like him to make the jump.
The question is, does he want to?
Ranger, 28, played eight games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2009-10 season, then left the sport for two years prior to resurfacing last fall with the Marlies.
He chooses to keep his reasons to himself, which is certainly his right and a policy that continues as this blog is written.
'Played very, very well'
What is interesting, though, is that whatever he has found with head coach Dallas Eakins and the Marlies is important enough to him that he is strongly considering staying there instead of looking for NHL employment.
"Ranger has played very, very well, but I think the thing with Paul that everyone has to remember is that he's been gone for such a long time," Eakins told The National Post's Michael Traikos.
"Everyone wants to make sure that from Paul's side and our side that he's fully ready to make the next step. He's so early into this that there's no timeline on a return for him."
A few NHL teams will be disappointed with that.
Some have wondered if it is a negotiating tactic.
But if Ranger is doing what he believes to be best, then you can't really argue with it.
Follow Elliotte Friedman on Twitter @FriedgeHNIC
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