Two years ago, while a member of the Los Angeles Kings, Jarret Stoll was doing his best to squash the Rangers Stanley Cup dream. Now Stoll has arrived on Broadway hoping to be one of the reasons the Rangers are able to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.
"I learned a lot about them playing in the Final," Stoll said after agreeing to terms on a free agent contract with the Rangers on Monday. "Obviously it was five games, but it wasn't just five games. There were a lot of double overtimes, and we had problems with their speed, and I'll never forget that."
Added the 33 year-old two-time Cup winner, "That group that they have there..there's no secret why they've been so successful there the last three or four years. It must be that they have a great group, a great coaching staff, and guys that care about each other. I love teams like that."
It may take Stoll a day or two, or more, to start referring to the Rangers as "we" instead of "they" after spending the past seven seasons in L.A. after playing four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, but it was clear Monday that both Stoll and Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton were thrilled that the veteran center is now trying to win another Stanley Cup in New York, and not on the other side looking to prevent the Blueshirts from achieving that goal as he was when the Kings bested the Rangers in the 2014 Final.
"He's been a winning player in the league a couple of times, and tracing back to his Junior days, he's won there (in Kootenay), and always in a leadership role" explained Gorton. "It's a belief in our organization that it's important to have people that have won, and been through it. So we view this as he's someone that can possibly help us get over that hump that we haven't been able to do."
Stoll told reporters on a conference call that he "takes a lot of pride in being a leader". He also is confident in his on-ice talents and ability to help the Rangers in 2015-16.
One of the top face-off men in the league over the past ten years, Stoll won 51 percent of his draws a year ago, 55 percent two seasons ago, and 56 percent in 2012-13. He is also an excellent penalty killer, solid forechecker, and clutch goal scorer.
"As far as the faceoff circle goes, I take a lot of pride in that, and I want to be out there in all situations," explained Stoll, who is a two-time 20-goal scorer. "It's just one thing I've been working on over the course of my career, and I've gotten better and better. Nowadays faceoffs have gotten pretty important in the league with all the rule changes."
As far as where he fits in the lineup, Stoll seemed unconcerned, more interested in coming to New York, fitting in, and helping out any way he can.
"I realize how good an opportunity it is to play with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden," offered Stoll. "I know what I can bring to the team, and I just want to help the Rangers."
"The future is exciting."