I was in the Okanagan Springs Press Box at the Kelowna Rockets Game on Wednesday evening. Ryan Huskas' Rockets were in action against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. Free beer was a great offering from the good people at OK Springs but my priority was to complete my scouting report on a Flyer prospect by the name of Ranford.
No not Bill... and not even a goalie at that... but yes he is the nephew of former NHL goaltender Bill Ranford. Branden Ranford, for those of you who don’t know , was drafted late by the Flyers, and was a steal in the 7th round at 209th overall. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and he is currently 18 years of age.
There is some criticism of his speed and skating ability but » I did not see this when I was watching him in action. He has a good hard shot and handles the puck well. As a Flyers fan I was impressed with his grittiness and physical game. He laid a couple nice hits throughout the game and scored the Blazers 3rd goal midway through the second period in a 5-4 road victory for the Loops.
During the third period, the Rockets played with just five d-men after Colton Jobke was ejected from the game for receiving a major after he elbowed Blazers forward Dalibor Bortnak late in the second. Guess who came to Bortnaks aid and started scrapping two Rockets at once? Eventually he focused on one Rocket and I believe he took the fight, although it was an even match up against a larger Rocket player.
In 72 games last season, Ranny had 29 Goals along with 36 helpers totalling 65 points and 83 PIM`s. Not bad for a 17 year old. At 5`10`` and 182 lbs he is not a monster on the ice, so will really need to work on his mass and speed if he wants to challenge for a position with the Flyers over the course of the next few years.
I strongly believe that the potential is there for this kid if he can keep his focus and skill building. I see shades of a younger Steve Downie in this kid minus the meat head mentality. I look forward to tracking him this season and keeping you up to date.
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