Players to Watch, 2016-17: Brendan RanfordSep 9, 2016
Last season was a career year for Brendan Ranford.
The Stars forward recorded 19 goals, and led the team with 40 assists and 59 points. All three were career-highs. He was also the only player to appear in all 76 regular season games. In his three seasons in Cedar Park, Ranford has been arguably the most durable player on the roster. He has only missed 11 games in that three-year span.
“I played a lot of games and I’ve done that always in my career,” said Ranford of his durability. “Even in junior, where I missed only 11 or 13 games over five years, I feel it’s a good asset I have where I can stay healthy and I can play.”
He is only listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, but Ranford can play bigger than his size. He’s a naturally-gifted athlete who is also passionate for lacrosse when he is not playing hockey. Along with the durability, the Edmonton, Alberta native has also produced moments of taking over a game. He scored his first career hat trick at the AHL level last season in a 5-3 road win against the San Diego Gulls on January 16th. He holds the franchise playoff record with a five-game goal-scoring streak and a six-game point streak. Ranford can bring a “big game” element to the ice. It is part of the reason he was named to his first AHL All-Star Classic this past season.
“We never gave up. Ever,” said Ranford of growing throughout last season. “I felt that was a big learning experience to make it to the playoffs, and that’s a big thing for sure for a young team and I felt that we had a good season. I mean, obviously, we want to do a lot more than we have.”
33 points in his rookie season in 2013-14, 51 points in 2014-15 and the career-high numbers this past year. Ranford’s production has continued to increase each year with the Texas Stars. He opened last season with five points in the first three games. He tallied 14 points in 11 games in January, the most points scored in a single month by any player on the team last year. He racked up 12 points over a 10-game stretch as the calendar turned into February. As a kid, he was practically raised in an NHL locker room from spending time with his uncle, Bill Ranford, a two-time Stanley Cup-winner with the Edmonton Oilers.
And now as he enters his fourth season, he is transitioning from a younger prospect to an experienced player that will be relied on to lead the way. He will be a part of the core unit of players along with captain Travis Morin, Justin Dowling, and newcomers Adam Cracknell and Andrew Bodnarchuk.
“My first season here I felt like a young guy, and [in 2014-15] as well,” said Ranford at the end of last season. “And, obviously guys look up to you and see how you conduct yourself, and this year I felt that I came in with a mindset to be a pro and take this job seriously and every day you could be an option for Dallas.”
Brendan Ranford has been durable. He has been consistent, and he has been clutch for the Texas Stars over the last three seasons. Now, he will be a player to watch in 2016-17.