Last week the Rangers agreed to terms with free agent center Josh Jooris, just one day removed from his 26th birthday. A former star at Union College, where he was a teammate of current Rangers' prospect Mat Bodie, Jooris spent the past two seasons playing for the Calgary Flames where he scored 12 goals as a rookie and totaled 16 goals and 37 points over 119 games. A solid penalty killer, Jooris also contributed four power play goals as a rookie two seasons ago and added four game-winners that year, as well.
BlueshirtsUnited.com caught up with Josh Jooris to discuss his becoming a New York Ranger.
BSU: Congratulations on the new deal. Pretty cool that it basically got done on your birthday! How does it feel to be a Ranger now?
JJ: What perfect timing, a great time for multiple celebrations! I couldn't be more thrilled than to sign with the Rangers, and to tie it in with my birthday! When the Rangers came knocking it was obviously a big deal to me that they were interested--such a storied franchise, an Original Six team--it was an honor to be recognized by them. I see a good opportunity here and my mindset is to come in and help this team win.
BSU: Did you speak with Mat Bodie before deciding to sign with the Rangers?
JJ: Yeah I actually did. I gave Mat a text when I was in the middle of talks with New York and asked him a couple questions, and he had unbelievable things to say about the organization and how he's been treated and how things are run there. Mat is pretty good friend of mine, was my teammate at Union and now a sophomore captain in the AHL, which is a pretty special feat and says a lot about him. I really respect his opinion; and he gave me some real good knowledge in the decision-making process.
BSU: How would you describe your game?
JJ: I think I've really discovered an identity for myself. In Junior I was all about offense and then I went to college and learned a lot about the defensive game and playing a good 200-foot game. When I got to the pro level it was all about getting everything better because you really have to be solid in all aspects of the game. I think I am a player that really focuses on the little things. I'm a guy who can contribute throughout the lineup--you need an energy guy in the bottom six or a guy that can fill in in the top six, I want to be able to do that. I'm a guy that plays with a lot of speed and energy. I like to get in on the fore check and be a guy that can turn the game around with his aggressiveness.Of course penalty killing is a big thing with me, too, and I take pride in that part of my game.
BSU: The Rangers have added several strong penalty killers to the mix this off-season--you, Michael Grabner, Nathan Gerbe. Are you excited to know you are wanted, in part, because you excel in that role so much?
JJ: I know that's something those two guys can bring, and so can I, so obviously there's a theme there. I talked to Jeff (Gorton) and it seemed like my speed was a great fit and helping out on the PK. It's sending a message with these signings that we want to be a fast team and be strong on the PK, and I think I can help in those areas.
BSU: Has it sunk in yet that you are now a Ranger, calling Madison Square Garden home?
JJ: It definitely has. I had a long drive up to the country today and those things were definitely crossing my mind. It's exciting. I only played (at MSG) twice with Calgary, but I remember having a lot of energy playing there. It's a historic building and it's just really cool to be part of an Original Six team. You can't really beat it. There's a lot of hype, a lot of people in the stands, which adds to it. It's definitely really cool. I'll be excited to put that jersey on one day soon.