Rangers legend Mark Messier ‘all in’ on Matt Rempe

NHL: St. Louis Blues at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Messier may not have been among the 18,006 New York Rangers fans chanting “Rempe! Rempe!” at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. But that doesn’t mean the Rangers legend isn’t a big fan of Blueshirts rookie Matt Rempe.

“I’m all in on Rempe,” Messier said on the Jackie Redmond Show.

And what caught the eye of the six-time Stanley Cup champion?

“I love the fact, besides the fighting part, what he brings to the team,” Messier explained. “Youthful energy. He can get up and down the ice. He can get in on the forecheck. He’s able to body check.

“You talk about playoff hockey, when you’ve got to ground and pound, take away the will of the other team. He brings that to a team that was sorely missing that element, in my belief.”

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Mark Messier takes notes of Matt Rempe’s impact on Rangers

new york rangers
Rangers Mark Messier (11) celebrates with the Stanley Cup after the Rangers defeated Vancouver 3-2 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Madison Square Garden June 14, 1994. Rangers Win Stanley Cup

Rempe has been a revelation since making his NHL debut outdoors against the Islanders at the Stadium Series on Feb. 18. His willingness to fight veteran enforcers like Matt Martin, Ryan Reaves and Nicolas Deslauriers endeared him to teammates and fans alike. As did his ever-present smile and upbeat personality.

But what has kept the 21-year-old forward in the lineup is his ability to impact games with big hits, effective forechecking and being responsible defensively on the fourth line.

He did all of that in spades Saturday in a 4-0 win against the St. Louis Blues.

Rempe logged an NHL career high with 11:08 in ice time, was credited with a team-high five hits, registered two shots on goal and had an apparent second-period goal overturned by video review.

Not bad for the No. 165 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

“I believe in drafting that kind of player and developing them,” Messier said. “He seems like an amazing kid – I haven’t met him personally, but from what I’ve heard he’s been welcomed with open arms into the team … more importantly, he took advantage of the opportunity. And that doesn’t come for free. There’s a lot of hard work that’s gone in behind the scenes for him to put himself in that position. And then when he got the opportunity, he’s taken full advantage of it. It’s an amazing story.”

Rempe could be in line for more rough stuff Monday when the Rangers host the New Jersey Devils. In their last meeting, Rempe leveled Devils forward Nathan Bastian, who remains out of the lineup injured.

But it’ll all be in a day’s work for the 6-foot-8 rookie, who’s caught the attention of a franchise icon.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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