August 20 2012 09:21PM
A source I trust has confirmed the rumours that former Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Paul Ranger has signed with the Toronto Marlies.
Over the last few days, several reports have come out that Ranger had signed an AHL deal in Toronto. If true, Ranger will be set to play his first professional hockey since his 8 games with Tampa Bay during the 2009-10 season before taking a mysterious leave of absense that left many Lightning fans scratching their heads.
Ranger was a restricted free agent with the Lightning at the time he left the team due to "personal issues."
Ranger enjoyed a rather successful, young career before leaving the NHL. In 270 games, Ranger accumulated 18 goals, 74 assists, and 92 points, highlighted by a particularly productive 2007-08 season with 10 goals, 21 assists, and 31 points in 72 games.
Each AHL team must have 13 of their 18 skaters play 260 or fewer profesional games (excluding the ECHL). Paul Ranger has 340 between the AHL and NHL. The Marlies also have veterans Mike Zigomanis, Ryan Hamilton, Keith Aucoin, Mark Fraser, and Mike Kostka in this category, giving them six.
There are many rumours out there as to why Paul Ranger decided to leave his NHL career behind. His story is a mysterious and peculiar one, but frankly, until he is ready to tell it himself, I'm not interested in those rumours.
If you follow my videos or blog, you know I'm not usually in the business of breaking signings like this. I wouldn't say anything unless I trusted the person who told me. We'll just have to wait until the team reports it, I suppose.