It could sound cliche; the smaller player being overlooked purely based on size wants to go out and prove the naysayers wrong in the end. But that's where Rangers prospect Ty Ronning finds himself after falling to the seventh-round in this last weekend's NHL Entry Draft.
"It was a quiet house for a while," Ronning told reporters after the opening day of the Rangers' annual Prospect Development Camp at the Madison Square Garden Training Center. "I mean I was projected [to go] in the fourth-round and I end up in the seventh. You know what? Some people don't want to give a smaller player a chance. But you know what? I'm 5-9, so all I need is a chance and I'm going to take full advantage of it."
Sure, all players want to go as early as possible in the draft, but Ronning took the high road and in the end feels he gets the last laugh because of the team that called his name in Buffalo.
"You want to prove some teams wrong that passed up on me but I'm with the best organization in the NHL," said Ronning, who scored 31 goals and 28 assists for 59 points in 67 games with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. "I'm as happy as can be and I think New York is a great fit for myself for my style and for what they need and what they want. Whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it."
Ronning doesn't have to look far to see that a seventh-round pick can have a long, successful career in the NHL. His father, Cliff, was taken in the seventh-round of the 1984 Draft and went on to score 306 goals and 869 points in 1,137 games, and Ty believes that bloodline gives him a leg-up on the competition.
Ty said Cliff, who played for the Vancouver Canucks against the Rangers in the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, believed his son is a perfect fit for the Blueshirts organization.
"He said [the Rangers] was probably one of the best fits for me as a player," Ty said of his father. "You look at players like [Mats] Zuccarello and wow, what a player. I admire his play and I want to be just like him. It's something special. [My dad is] ecstatic and it couldn't be a better fit so far."
Another role model for Ronning was former Ranger Martin St. Louis, a fellow undrafted player who went on to win a Stanley Cup and more likely than not has a spot waiting for him in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Monday was Ronning's first opportunity to skate for the organization, and like all the prospects in attendance, he hoped to make a strong impression.
"For myself, I want to prove myself," Ronning said. "They expect a lot from me and I'm just trying to give it everything I've got. I guess people can be wowed by that. It's my work ethic. I love working hard and I love doing it. The fitness test was awesome today and I'm ready for the next day."