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Off The Boards: Matt Rempe

A overall great player.
Off The Boards: Matt Rempe



One of the most noticeable and remarkable debuts in NHL history is Matt Rempe. He made his NHL appearance in an outdoor game and became the first player to do so in modern NHL history. What makes it even more incredible is his massive splash into the league. Despite his recognition for fighting, Matt Rempe has the ability to make amazing plays.

Rempe instantly made a splash in the league. In his first NHL shift, he fought with the legendary Matt Martin. After only nine games, fans are chanting his name in MSG.

Although he is now widely known among NHL fans for his fighting, Rempe has proven he is much more than that. The 6’8 and a half-foot Calgary native is one of the tallest players in the league and one of the most entertaining to watch. Rempe has been one of my favorite rookies since his debut. I saw him in action during the 3/9 game versus the St. Louis Blues, and he is worth the hype.

One of the most distinct characteristics of his play is his ability to position himself effectively. Rempe can make himself available and open easily, in part due to his size. Towering over most players on the ice, Rempe isn’t an easy target for a hit—and he uses that to his advantage. Another key factor is his determination with the puck when he is on the ice. He doesn’t give up easily. Good stick handling proves key to his success as a player.

The main part of playing in the NHL, at least in this age, is skating and finesse plays. Rempe is great at doing both– especially given his height, 6’8 and a half. He could skate with his head down through the neutral zone and be the one knocking players down, not getting hit.  My main point is that Rempe has the potential to be a great player, not just some enforcer.

With the Hartford Wolfpack, Rempe has eight goals this season. That might not be the biggest number, but if you compare that to 48 shots on goal, that’s about a 17% shot completion. Logan Stankoven, another big name to be called up, has 24 in 151, about 16%. Those are very similar numbers. With a 14% shot completion rate in the NHL, I’d say Rempe is adjusting fairly well– and as he continues to adjust to playing at the NHL level, that should only get better. Might I add the shot percentage should be 28% if the refs took a physics class.

My one concern is the fighting. I’m all for the occasional fight– but this isn’t the 90s; you don’t need to get into a fight a night. There are at least other players on your team. With his skill level, Rempe shouldn’t be dropping the gloves every night and taking a five-minute major. Now, I’m not saying that he’s a bad fighter– quite the contrary. That’s partially why it’s a problem. Getting into what’s essentially a boxing match every other night isn’t healthy. Most boxers don’t even do it.

I’m not out here saying it’s Rempe’s fault for getting in these fights. He’s twenty-one, and his brain is not fully developed. Take it from a teenager. The first fight with Matt Martin was iconic. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem with a fight once or twice a month. It’s known that hits can be more dangerous than fights. However, I don’t think anyone’s gonna recommend getting punched in the face–repeatedly– every few days.

Part of this is on the veterans; you’re in your mid-thirties, and he’s a kid who just gained the ability to drink in the U.S.. Like any rookie, he’s looking for a regular spot in the NHL and recognition. Maybe the players in their mid-thirties need to step up and be adults on the ice.

I asked some of Ranger’s fans (and Mr. Talucci) for their thoughts on him and his overall play.

Talucci: “I think he’s very promising and [a] very talented young player. He’s big and intimidating. I am, however, worried about how much he gets punched in the face.”



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About the Contributor
Lily Stanton
Lily Stanton, Sports Editor
Hi, I'm Lily Stanton, a Brien McMahon High School Junior. I am a sports editor, write the Off the Boards column, and am team lead of the Drama Club Production department. I am a big New York sports fan, and I love the New York Jets. Of course, my favorite is the New York Rangers. (I just had a HABS phase) Read Off the Boards, and feel free to reach out to me over gmail. You can find my sports photography profile below.  

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