It's not been a good 6 months for any Rangers' fan to be in a coma, if you were in one, you'd be shocked to realize that Mavric Parks along with last year's star starter: John Murray were playing out of a city that started with the letter 'K' but wasn't Kitchener. Aside from some of the other changes and surprises with the team they off to easily the best start in the team's 45-year history. Three deals fell in sequence basically amounting to a three-way deal between Kitchener, Kingston and London. Mavric Parks, Jason Guy and Steve Mason all traded jerseys, and though the Mason deal took some time to get confirmed, it was obvious that the deal was on it's way since two netminders had already been moved.
Without a question, the key to all three deals
is London superstar netminder: Steve Mason. Steve Mason holds the
OHL record with a 45-win season during 2006-'07 season. The respect
for Mason might be more universal after leading Canada to victories in
the Canada-Russia Super-Series, and then shortly after the deal took place
being named tournament MVP at the World Junior Championship. Mason
played in three post-season rounds last season after leading the Knights
to their 4th straight and potentially least-likely Hamilton Spectator trophy
as the OHL's top regular season team. During his rookie season, he
frustrated the Rangers during an emergency start with incumbant starter
Adam Dennis suspended, during that year's post-season he was forced into
action during the OHL finals against the Petes when Dennis went down injured,
gaining valuable experience along the way.
The price for a netminder, the calibre of a Steve Mason wasn't cheap howewver. The Rangers had to send second-year defender: Steve Tarasuk along with second year forward: Phil Varone along with a slew of draft picks. The picks were a 2nd, 3rd and 4th in 2011 and an additional 2nd round selection in the 2012 draft. Tarasuk might be the most intriguing of the players traded after Mason. He has good poise, excellent creativity and moves around the ice very well. He had three goals while waring a Rangers' jersey this year, and might have had a lot more if it weren't for being buried in the Rangers' depth chart, while playing for easily one of, if not thee deepest blueline in the league. While teaming predominantly with 18-year-old rookie Alex Dzielski, Tarasuk also lead the Rangers in plus-minus during his time with the team. Originally an Ottawa 67's draft pick Tarasuk came to the Rangers via trade just prior to the start of last season. His one drawback has continually been his size. Steven has played his entire OHL at under 170 pounds.
Phil Varone didn't get too much time to impress last season while called up around Christmas in the previous season, he didn't need too much time to impress either. This season he has been a fixture centering the third line, while playing with a wide variety of wingers. A shifty performer who was also gracious enough to temporarily loan his number seven to Steve Downie after he was acquired by the Rangers. While showing a flair for passing, Varone knows how to find the net himself and has improved the play of many of his wingers in his short tenure in Kitchener.
With an eye towards the post-season, the Rangers also picked up a veteran defender to tak ehte place of Steve Tarasuk, Ben Shutron of the Kingston Frontenacs was acquired for netminder Mavric Parks along with the 5th rounder that was originally sent to Kitchener for John Murray. Parks struggled in December, however did manage to showcase himself well to Kingston head coach and General Manager: Larry Mavety while his Frontenacs were being shutout 5-0 in Kitchener, Parks made some key stops early to take the pressure off of the shorthanded Rangers. In a weird twist of fate as the Memorial Cup hosts in 2005 the London Knights sent the rights to Jason Guy to the Storm in order to receive the most covetted netminder in the league, this season, they appear to be trading a covetted netminder for the very same netminder that they drafted all of those years ago.