Rangers’ rookie receives praise from team’s former enforcer after scrap against the Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Reaves (75) lands a punch as he fights with New York Rangers forward Matt Rempe (73) in the third period at Scotiabank Arena
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have a surefire enforcer on their roster. Forward Matt Rempe is the center of the NHL’s attention for his physical play. Since being called up from the AHL in February for the injured Zach Wheeler, Rempe has gotten into four fights on the ice.

Rangers: Matt Rempe gets backing from Maple Leafs’ Ryan Reaves after exchanging punches

His latest dust-up came against Ryan Reaves, the Rangers’ former enforcer who they traded away last season, in the team’s 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Reaves had high praise for the 21-year-old after squaring up with him. He had this to say about Rempe’s toughness and potential NHL outlook, via Luke Fox of Sportsnet:

“He’s going to be a menace in this league,” Reaves said frankly.

The laudatory remark is seemingly fitting for Rempe. The 6-7 right winger is making his presence felt in the opportunity that’s been given to him.

Matt Rempe makes an impact beyond fisticuffs

Not only has Rempe been unafraid to take it to opposing teams, but he’s also channeled that physicality toward the Rangers’ defensive efforts despite their current two-game skid. The Rangers conceded only 22 goals in February, almost halving their totals from December and January, while they’ve let three goals in the net in March. Rempe has been a major factor in their success.

The Calgary native’s offense has not slacked either. He scored the game-winning goal in his NHL debut and has an assist on the year along with it.

Rempe has quite the resume in only eight games played. If his career continues on the trajectory it’s on, he can very well make good on Reaves’ words.

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