finds himself exactly where he hoped he’d be at this point in the 2002-03 season … in the NHL. Following a tremendous pre-season in which Lundmark led the team with six goals and eight points in nine games, he has seen limited ice time over the first seven games of the young season. But as the lone rookie on this Rangers team, Lundmark has taken this NHL transition in stride and continues to impress the coaching staff with his strong work ethic and determination.
“That’s what got me here, hard work,” said the 21-year old native of Edmonton. “I can’t stop doing that. I still want to make my way up, whether it’s the first line or the third line. I’ve got to keep pushing, keep driving to the net, keep taking the body. Things will come.”
Lundmark’s hard work over the summer at the Rangers’ summer development camp in Calgary paid immediate dividends at the outset of Training Camp in Vermont. After a strong rookie season with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2001-02, the converted winger approached his fourth Training Camp with a sense of confidence. The former 1999 first round draft choice tied for first in the AHL among rookies with 32 assists and was second among first-year players with 27 goals and 59 points last season. Now it was time to earn a spot in the NHL.
Lundmark, who collected his first NHL point last week with an assist on Pavel Bure’s power play goal on October 15 vs. Toronto, has been shuffled between different lines to start the season, having already played the wing on combinations centered by Mark Messier
, Bobby Holik
and Dixon Ward
. Lundmark even took a turn back at his natural center ice position on Monday vs. Tampa Bay between Sandy McCarthy
and Ronald Petrovicky
. But for the rookie, it’s not a question of where and when he plays, it’s how he plays that will continue to instill confidence in both himself and the coaching staff.
“I’m just trying to go out there and work on getting experience on the ice and play really good defense,” said Lundmark, who has also earned some minutes on the power play and overtime this season. “That’s where my game is going to start off, being really solid on defense and being able to be trustworthy on the ice. Getting a chance to play with Bobby (Holik) and Rem (Murray) for a little while the other night was great. The third period of the Nashville game really helped me. I was handling the puck a lot more and it was good.”
An all-star at every level of play, Lundmark knows that the adjustment to the NHL is not a simple one. But he is realistic in his approach and has shown that he is not only physically ready to compete at this level, but mentally tough as well.
“I’m aware there’s going to be pressure to perform. Growing up, there’s always been pressure, and I put it on myself as well. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a first-year guy or a 10-year guy, you’re always going to have to get out there and play.”
Lundmark’s impressive pre-season and his positive attitude haven’t gone unnoticed by his teammates.
“Jamie showed in camp that he came ready to play, and he was unbelievable,” said Messier. “He scored big goals and played the kind of hockey (the coaches) wanted.”
“He brings youthful energy to the mix,” said Ward. “Any time you have a fresh perspective and the raw enthusiasm for the game that a young kid brings when he first starts, it does nothing but lift everybody’s spirits.”
Lundmark hopes to do more than lift his teammates’ spirits this season. He will look to lift his level of play and confidence at the NHL level. And in doing so, he will prove that after three seasons of preparation, this rookie is now ready to make his mark in the bigs.RELATED LINKS:Rookie Ready to Make His Mark
- October 20, 2002 (www.msgnetwork.com)