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Penguins defensive prospect Ryan McCleary affords totally different sport from his father

Pittsburgh Penguins defensive prospect Ryan McCleary appears to be like as much as his father.

And former NHL ahead Trent McCleary does the identical along with his son.


At 6-foot-2, Ryan has one thing of a vertical benefit over Trent.

“I barely scraped six ft,” mentioned Trent McCleary, who urged that further peak got here from his spouse, Tammy. “And he is (6-foot-2). He nonetheless has a child face so there would possibly nonetheless be some room to develop.”

Ryan McCleary continues to be taking the primary steps in his growth as a would-be NHL-er. A seventh-round decide (No. 194 total) in 2021, McCleary, who turned 19 on Sept. 9, is attending the Penguins’ ongoing rookie camp. And whereas loads of refinement continues to be required for him to succeed in the NHL, he seems to have the bottom components to succeed in this stage.

In 63 video games with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) final season, McCleary put up 30 factors (six objectives, 24 assists).

“He all the time jumped within the rush, however his timing wasn’t nice,” mentioned former Penguins coach Mike Johnston, now the Winterhawks’ coach. “However I assumed final yr he was actually efficient, and his level totals mirrored that.”

A right-handed shot listed at 180 kilos, McCleary has spent the previous two seasons in Portland enjoying for Johnston, who has lengthy valued aggressive defensemen.

“He desires an offensive defenseman sort of mindset,” Ryan McCleary mentioned. “All the time attempt to leap up within the play and be that fourth man within the rush.”

“(McCleary is) an enormous lanky man who can leap up into the play and make good performs,” Johnston mentioned. “The one factor about making performs as a defenseman, typically you are going to make a mistake. Issues aren’t going to occur the way in which you wished them to. However he is in a position to get well. He has sufficient confidence to guage what he is executed after which make a play the subsequent time and never be afraid or intimidated by the second.”

The fashion — and the general sport — Ryan McCleary performs is eons totally different from what his dad noticed two-plus a long time in the past.

Undrafted, Trent McCleary carved out a 192-game profession with the Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens within the late Nineties and early 2000s as a hard-scrabble, rambunctious agitator.

“He was a really hard-nosed type of (agitating) sort of participant,” Ryan McCleary mentioned. “He type of hit a whole lot of guys. It is a totally different (sport) nowadays, however I attempt to carry a few of these points he had into my sport.”

Trent McCleary suggests there is a bigger gulf between their kinds.

“I am glad he performs a special sport,” the elder McCleary mentioned. “As a result of the sport that I performed is just about the way in which of the dodo fowl. I used to be a type of antagonists and (expletive) disturbers and guys like that. You possibly can’t try this (in the present day). He is far more of a talented sort of participant. He strikes the puck. He is received a lot better dimension than I ever did. So it is type of night time and day.”

Johnston suggests a much more intangible similarity exists.

“Hockey sense for certain,” the coach mentioned. “Ryan’s a very good participant. When his dad was enjoying, I assumed Trent was very, very related. A excessive hockey sense, excessive IQ on the ice. That is the place Ryan separated himself from gamers when he was youthful. He is actually beginning to present, at (the junior) stage, he can play with some bodily compete to his sport, which he is additionally added inside the final yr or two. ”

Trent McCleary’s profession was halted prematurely on the age of 27 due to a gross damage in January of 2000 whereas he was skating for the Canadiens.

Throughout a house sport, he slid down to dam a one-timer by Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Therrien and was struck within the throat by the puck. Within the course of, I’ve suffered a fractured larynx.

McCleary was rushed to Montreal Common Hospital for a life-saving tracheotomy whereas he was nonetheless sporting a lot of his tools, together with his skates.

He affords a peculiar description of the mishap that might have been cataclysmic.

“It is the very best career-ending damage a man can have,” mentioned Trent McCleary, who turned 50 on Sept. 8. “I can just about do something, aside from play anaerobic sports activities. I misplaced about 25 to 30% of my airway. However you do not want your full airway except you are doing excessive sports activities. I really feel unhealthy for these guys with concussions or unhealthy knees or shoulders or backs as a result of these are lifelong. I used to be lucky.”

Observe: In accordance with the workforce’s web site, the Penguins defeated the Boston Bruins, 6-4, in a rookie match sport on the LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo on Saturday.

Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Overview employees author. You possibly can contact Seth by e mail at [email protected] or through Twitter .

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