Frank Vatrano: ‘It’s a dream come to true to play for the Rangers’

new york rangers
Mar 17, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Frank Vatrano (77) takes the ice for the first time as a Ranger following his trade from the Florida Panthers before a game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers acquired Frank Vatrano on Wednesday and it was baptism by fire making his debut against the Islanders just a day later.

“It was great, especially playing in a rivalry game for the first one on St. Patrick’s Day,” Vatrano said despite a 2-1 loss. “It was a lot of fun. Wish we would’ve got the two points.”

The 28 year-old forward played 14:47 picking up one shot on goal and one blocked shot. He skated on a line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, whom he called, “world class players” after the game.

Frank Vatrano on trade to New York Rangers

Vatrano was obtained by Chris Drury from the Panthers in exchange for a fourth round pick. Although he’s on the small side, he has excellent speed and plays much bigger than the 5-11, 197 pounds generously listed on the NHL’s media site. This season he has 10 goals and 19 points through 50 games.

“Florida was home, I was there for almost 5 years,” he said. “But to get a call and find out it’s the Rangers– I’m absolutely thrilled to be here. It’s a dream come true to play at Madison Square Garden and for the Rangers. Ownership, staff, and teammates have been very welcoming. It’s always nice to come to a team and see familiar faces.”

Vatrano is talking about having played with Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, and Adam Fox with the US National Program.

“Foxy was actually my roommate at the World Championships,” he revealed.

Playing with Panarin

new york rangers frank vatrano
Mar 17, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Frank Vatrano (77) skates during warmups before his debut with the Rangers following a trade from the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Vatrano had it easier than most new acquisitions as he jumped on a line with the Rangers leading point getter Artemi Panarin.

“He’s unbelievable. I’ve always watched him even before I came into the league,” Vatrano said with a smile. “Playing against him he’s a special, special player. Playing with him, just get open and he’ll find you the puck.”

The Massachusetts native made sure to not leave out Ryan Strome in his compliments but is aware that another trade could bump him down the lineup.

“It’s a great opportunity playing with two world class players,” he added. “For me it’s about bringing my speed, getting into those dirty areas and create space for them. I’m excited to play with them or any guys on this team.”

Vatrano also realizes that the Rangers are in the thick of things much like his former team. Although he’s only played one game, the speedy forward completely understands his role.

“This team is fighting for a Stanley Cup and been a great team all year,” Vatrano explained. “I’m coming here to provide depth to this team whether that’s scoring goals or being an energy force every single night.”

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