BlueshirtsUnited.com recently caught up with prospect Adam Chapie, who signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers earlier this month after spending four seasons at the University of Massachusetts- Lowell, where he scored 46 goals and 49 assists for 95 points in 148 collegiate games.
Chapie, 24, is finishing his final year at UMass-Lowell and is joining Hartford on the weekends. He stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 185 pounds.
BSU: First off, congratulations. How did the deal with the Rangers come about? Did you know they were interested in signing you?
AC: "Actually I had no idea the Rangers were interested. I talked to my agent and said I don't want to know anything during my college season and just wanted to focus on my senior year. Distractions are never good for me. I didn't want my mind off my college career. It wasn't over yet."
"The Rangers seemed to be the most interested. They had been following me the longest. My agent said this is probably your best situation and I'm thrilled about it."
BSU: How would you describe your style of play?
AC: "I'd like to think of myself as — the best part of my game is my skating. I'm a skill guy. I'm not that big but I have some grit. I do enjoying playing in the defensive zone and making plays for the team, but overall, I'd say I'm more of a gritty skill guy.
BSU: It seems like your junior and senior years, your offensive numbers really spiked. What do you attribute to that?
AC: "Freshman year, I lacked a little bit of confidence. I didn't think I was going to play Division-1 hockey. I thought Division-3 was going to happen. I think coming in, I was nervous and lacking a little bit of confidence."
"Junior and senior year, you gain all that confidence. I was relied on to be a leader and show the young guys. Experience was the best thing. I added some weight, got stronger and got faster. That plays a huge role."
BSU: You spent two years playing junior hockey in New Mexico, not exactly a hot bed for hockey. What was that experience like?
AC: "It was certainly different. Definitely not a hockey atmosphere. I don't think anyone knew what hockey was. In the middle of games, they'd show on the big screen what hooking was."
"Jason Kersner became head coach my second year and he helped me get to UMass. That was probably the biggest thing in my junior career going into college."
BSU: What was the biggest adjustment for you going from junior to college?
AC: "The biggest thing switching from junior to college, it was definitely faster and guys were definitely bigger. But at the same time, I wasn't coming in as a top guy."
"It was tough. There were weeks where I had a great practice but you're a freshman. You're not the player the coach looks for in a key situation. You want to be that guy, but I didn't know how. It was hard. It's hard for every player, especially for those used to being the top guy. It was humbling."
Eventually he was given the chance to kill penalties.
"It put another key part in my game. I think a lot of teams look for penalty killers and guys willing to block shots. That's something I added to my game and I couldn't be happier about it."
BSU: How has your first week at Hartford been?
AC: "It's different, but I've enjoyed it. Coming to a new team your always nervous because you don't know what the guys are like and the staff are like. It's been unbelievable. The guys came up to introduce themselves."
"Obviously with them being OK traveling back to go to school means the world to me. I couldn't be happier about how nice the guys have been."
BSU: What are you expecting to be the biggest hurdles for you making the jump from college to the American Hockey League?
AC: "I think the biggest thing for me is putting on the weight and getting stronger. I think skating wise, I think I can be alright, but there are big guys in this league. A lot bigger than college. Eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, I get used to it and get comfortable with it and start contributing. I'm looking forward to it. I know the training staff will help me get bigger and stronger."