Mar 11 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel (41) forward Micheal Haley (18) and New York Islanders fight during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Haley's Fists (And Stick) Could Help Whale

If newly-signed Micheal Haley doesn’t crack the New York Rangers roster as a fourth line fighter or an additional forward, Connecticut Whale fans that have grown to love to hate the tough guy should be happy to see him arrive this fall.

The Whale lacked a forward like Haley last year. They had just about everything else, but a guy who can score 15  goals a year while dropping the gloves with opposing heavyweights was not one of them.

You might point me in the direction of Andre Deveaux or Kris Newbury to dispute my claim and I would continue to argue. I doubt either could hang in as well as Haley did with the Rangers’ own Stu Bickel last March:

Haley’s play has tormented Whale and Wolf Pack fans for years now. Making his debut with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2007, Haley was always a fight first, play later kind of guy. But over the last two seasons the 5 foot 11 forward from Ontario has had an offensive breakout. That’s what you call it when a guy goes from averaging around 4 goals in his first three seasons to 13 goals in his last two.

That said, Haley could find himself competing for a roster spot in the NHL with the Rangers. He would be faster than Michael Rupp at least. That said, the signings of Taylor Pyatt and Arron Asham might make it a bit harder for Haley to squeeze his way into the mix just yet.

If Haley does find himself on the team in Hartford, fans will be quick to welcome him. Those types of players have always fared very well in the town and usually become fan favorites, despite past pedigrees, after their first dominating fight.

He certainly won’t make or break a team’s season, but Haley’s fists and secondary goal scoring could prove huge to a team whose depth last season was challenged at times. Haley would fit well on a line in Connecticut with quick, speedy forwards who hit but don’t fight.


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Tags: AHL American Hockey League Connecticut Whale Micheal Haley

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