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Ronning Leaving No Stone Unturned On Journey Towards NHL

2016 seventh-round pick signs ELC with Blueshirts

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

It's hard to picture how this year could have gone better for Ty Ronning.

The forward set a new single-season record with 55 goals - and counting - for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, helped the club qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2013-14 and signed his first contract with the Rangers on Monday.

While it's hard to envision things going better, it's nearly as difficult to get the 20-year-old to talk about himself before his team, and that's all anyone needs to know about Ronning.

"I broke the record with 49 and [have] just been contributing any way I can, whether it's blocking shots, or putting the puck in the net and trying to make a good play," he told NYRangers.com. "It's been rolling for me, but overall as a team, I couldn't have done it without the good players with me."

Ronning, whom the Rangers selected in the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Draft, called the contract a "dream come true" to join a "team that's believed in me."

"With the contract in my hand, anything is possible," he said. 

Ask anyone who has watched one of Ronning's shifts and the quality that jumps out is his work ethic. Ronning stands 5-foot-9 and weighs in at 172 pounds but plays a hard-nosed game of someone much larger.

Chris Drury, the Rangers' assistant general manager and GM of the Hartford Wolf Pack, said Ronning's compete level makes him stand out against the competition.

"He's just the kind of kid that we took in the seven round who has done everything possible to get better and better," Drury said of Ronning. "He's got a well-documented work ethic, he's a competitor and how hard he tries to be a better player … is what led to his breakout season in goals. He leaves no stone unturned to reach his goals. Kids with those qualities in your organization is very exciting."

Tweet from @NYRangers: �� @TyRonning7 highlights from his 50+ goal season so far with the @WHLGiants in @TheWHL. pic.twitter.com/udlCWHluKr

A playoff appearance - or more - would be a nice cap on Ronning's career with the Giants, which began when he was 16 years old. He said that was his top goal heading into his last season of junior hockey.

"Just to get back in that feeling of a playoff atmosphere, I think it definitely brings up the compete level and I think it's a totally different game. I'm 20 years old and it's my last season. I know that I really want to go far."

While the ink could just be drying, Ronning has experience at the pro level. Last season, the winger signed an amateur tryout with the Wolf Pack and appeared in 12 games with the club where he scored two goals and added three assists.

That experience, according to Ronning, helped him get off to the good start this season with the Giants and lead him on his historic campaign.

"It made me feel comfortable and that I could be playing in that league and work my way up," he said of his time in the AHL. "Embrace the grind and climb my way up to the top if I can and one day play for the Rangers."

 

There's the possibility of Ronning heading to Hartford when his season in Vancouver comes to an end. Hartford's regular season concludes April 14, and can be extended if the team qualifies for the playoffs.

"If it works out and the time matches up, we would definitely like to have him in to play some games," Drury said. "It was great that we were able to get him in last year. He showed a lot of good qualities. It's obviously a tough league that's also very competitive. He came in and played real well and did a lot of the things we were looking for in terms of his play away from the puck."

The Rangers' announcement of shifting towards younger players has those like Ronning excited for the opportunity that's awaiting them in New York. He's spoken with friends and former teammates who have made it to the NHL and takes the advice they've given to him to heart.

"I definitely think there's a chance," he said. "Talking with my buddy [Mat] Barzal on the Islanders … he's telling me that it's possible, don't get too hard on yourself and definitely believe in yourself because really anything is possible."

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