This seems to be the banner year for the Crunch to get players from rivalry teams. It’s weird, but that's hockey.
News broke today that Syracuse has signed former Rochester American Evan Rankin to an AHL contract. Rankin has spent the last two years of his career with the Amerks, playing 83 games and scoring 29 total goals and 31 assists. One of those goals and 4 of his assists came against Syracuse this past season.
In the beginning of his pro career, Hockey’s Future had this to say about him:
Rankin combines great offensive abilities with grittiness. He’s a fiery competitor who isn’t afraid to mix things up with the opposition. He is strong on his skates and moves well through traffic. Rankin has great instincts and vision. He also has a good, hard shot. One of Rankin’s greatest attributes is his superb play around the net. He can be the perennial thorn in the opposing goaltender’s side. He has shown that he’s willing to pay the price in front of the opposition’s net to score a goal or to get possession of loose pucks. Rankin also possesses a very good work ethic. One area where Rankin could be more involved is on the defensive side of the game.
Rankin was a -10 for Rochester last year, falling quite a bit from his +9 the year before. However, responses to Rankin signing with Syracuse around Twitter looked very positive for the Crunch:
Highland Park Hockey: Solid AHL pickup by #WBSPens East Division rival Syracuse.
Rob Sanderson (Sports 1280 WHTK hockeycaster): (Arguably) the hardest-working #Amerks forechecker is now on #SyrCrunch.
Kevin Oklobzija: This will be odd for #Amerks fans: RW Evan Rankin has signed 1-year AHL contract with Tampa Bay
Although this was from two years ago, when Syracuse was still with Anaheim, here’s a video of Rankin scoring on the Crunch…er, well, sort of, though Rankin certainly celebrated like he did: