Nigel Dawes: 25 and Under

PJ EdelmanCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2008

This is the first article in a short series: An in-depth look at the top NY Rangers players who are under twenty-five years of age

Nigel Dawes is one of the Rangers bright young stars. The shifty forward is of Canadian and Jamaican descent, the only player currently with half-Jamaican genes in the NHL, to this writer's knowledge. Graeme Townshend is the only NHL player to be born in Jamaica.

Dawes had a nice year in 2007-2008 season, scoring 14 goals and 29 points with an 11 plus/minus rating in 61 games. He was particularly effective in the shootout, scoring clutch goals in big wins, often with the help of a nifty backhand. Dawes' spot on the Rangers hasn't always been as solid as it is now.  

In the 2006-2007 season he only managed one goal in eight games with the Blueshirts, and after sitting for seven of the next eight, was sent down to play the remainder of the season with the Rangers' minor league team, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Although Dawes' skill was evident, he was named to his first Western Hockey League all-star game in 2003 where his short stature put him on the short side of many GMs' lists. He is listed at 5'8", but is seems like he reaches that height only on skates. Dawes refused to let his height, or rather lack of it, deter him, and played well enough for the Rangers to notice.

The Rangers were willing to take a chance on the talented forward, and in 2003 drafted him in the fifth round and signed him to a contract in September of 2004 when he was only 19. Rangers' fans have high hope for Dawes, now 23 years old, as he enters his third year with the club and his first as a starter.
 His excellent skating, solid vision, and tricky shot should help the Rangers' young forward to a productive and exciting year.