GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Morgan Barron was born before the turn of the century, which makes him one of the older guys attending the Rangers’ Prospect Development Camp, which opened Friday at the team’s MSG Training Center practice facility.
"This'll be my third or fourth [prospect camp] now, so I've been through it a few times,’’ Barron said after going through off- and on-ice testing Friday. "It seems like just yesterday I was one of the kids who was just drafted and coming in and meeting everybody for the first time. And all of a sudden, it's four years later and I'm one of the older guys. So it's definitely a lot different now.’’
Barron, 22, said being older has led him to take on more of a leadership role in camp, showing the younger players around and telling them how to do things. But he is aware his primary focus this fall has to be to make the NHL roster out of training camp, and to that end, being invited to the prospect camp before the main training camp opens Sept. 23 gives him something of a head start on making a good impression on the coaching staff.
Barron, a 6-4, 220-pound center/left wing, spent most of last season with the Rangers’ Hartford farm team, before getting called up for a taste of NHL action for the final five games. The experience has helped his confidence, he said.
"I felt comfortable when I came up,’’ he said. "I felt like I put the work in in Hartford . . . and earned that opportunity. And it was just nice to get there and realize that I can keep up, and be a difference maker at that level.’’
A physical, straight line player from Halifax, Nova Scotia, via Cornell, Barron had 10 goals, 11 assists (21 points) in 21 games with Hartford before coming up to the Rangers, where he scored one goal in five games. With the Rangers’ commitment to add more grit and physicality to the lineup, Barron thinks that is something he definitely can bring. But after firing coach David Quinn and hiring Gerard Gallant as the new coach, general manager Chris Drury also brought in some physical, gritty players such as Barclay Goodrow, Sammy Blais and Ryan Reaves, players making it tougher for Barron to make the team.
Barron said he’s not worried about that.
"I don't think it's worth spending my time trying to think about whether it's hard or easy [to make the team] rIght now,’’ he said. "I'm a firm believer that if I go out there and compete to the best of my ability and really show my skills, I'll be a member of this team who can contribute.’’