Welcome Nod For Rod-ney
Last week, defenseman Bryan Rodney was back home practicing and working out with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. On Monday, Rodney signed a one-year American Hockey League contract to become the newest member of the Manchester Monarchs.
“He brings a veteran mindset to our team and he should be a nice compliment to some of the other guys on the ‘D’ core throughout the season,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “I think the biggest challenge right now for him is getting in game shape. He has a real soft touch with the puck and appears to have a real good sense with positioning and timing.”
Rodney, 28, has appeared in 34 National Hockey League game for the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers registering a goal and 12 assists for 13 points. The blueliner is also a veteran of 306 American Hockey League games recording 30 goals and 133 assists for 166 points with the Charlotte Checkers, Albany River Rats, Syracuse Crunch and Oklahoma City Barons.
“If you look at the age of our guys, he is considerably more experienced in this league,” stated Morris. “As a staff, you are encouraged by that because it just helps to sell your message to the rest of the team. They help to impart the knowledge and the experience that is lacking. I think that having him in combination with some of the other guys that have played in the league will be a great teaching source for our young guys.”
In each of the last two seasons, Rodney has played deep into the Calder Cup Playoffs. In the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs, Rodney helped lead the Checkers to the Eastern Conference Final before losing to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Binghamton Senators. Last season, the defenseman helped the Barons reach the Western Conference Final before they lost to the Toronto Marlies.
“I have been around and played in some big games the last few years and I think that helps as far as leadership goes,” explained Rodney. “Maybe some of the guys haven’t been in those types of situations and big games and that sort of thing. I want to bring that experience. It is a part of my make-up also to be a leader. I like to share what I have gone through with some of the younger guys. Some of the other guys I am playing with that maybe don’t have their confidence, I like to be that positive voice in their ear telling them great job and that kind of stuff. I am going to continue that here and it is no different where I go, it is just a matter of getting to know names and faces and getting to know the style of the guys’ play and from there I will just adjust.”
His experience and leadership will help the Monarchs both in the locker room and on the ice. The defenseman has risen to the challenge when it matters most as he has five goals and 19 assists for 24 points in 45 career Calder Cup Playoff games.
Rodney has been a quick study in practice and is settling in nicely with the Monarchs.
“The coaches have been great,” said Rodney. “(They are) teaching during practice and that sort of thing. I am getting to see it as it is happening. It has been a pretty good transition and I am happy so far.”
Rodney will be wearing No. 33 when he makes his Monarchs debut this weekend.