Friday, June 4, 2010

This is WHY We really liked him

The hardest part about covering Ranger prospects is that you know that not every single draft pick will wind up with a contract. When you watch someone over a period of time and you see what they go though trying to make a dream come true then you can not help but want to root for someone to make it.

Mitch Gaulton was one of those who we really took a liking to as the young defenseman for the Erie Otters had the most positive attitude of any prospect we ever saw. If anyone had the right to complain about the fate he was handed, it was Gaulton.

We used to joke the often injured Gaulton had such bad luck that if there was a lightning storm in the area that we did not want to stand next to him. We knew that the lightning would somehow find a way to strike him.

Yet Gaulton never complained about his fate, when he was wrong he accepted responsibility and more than anything else he never ever let anything get him down.

From reconstructive elbow surgery to freak accidents in practice; injuries found a way to Gaulton and would knock him down. But he would get right back up and fight for more.

Ask those who got to cover Gaulton like Victor Fernandes of Erie Times-News and they will tell you how much they liked the kid. Gaulton is the only prospect that Dubi Silverstein when he owned the Blueshirt Bulletin would ask about.

We all said the same thing about Gaulton; a smile always on his face with a cheerful attitude. We bring this up because Mitch Gaulton while not signed by the Rangers did something that only those who knew him would not be shocked to hear he did.

Gaulton wrote the Rangers a thank you letter for all that they had done for him over the last 2 years. Our friend Victor Fernandes wrote up the story that is so nice to see we had to post it too. The original can be found here:

Erie Otters defenseman Mitch Gaulton didn’t sign with the New York Rangers before Tuesday’s deadline for 2008 National Hockey League draft picks. But he likely left a lasting impression on club officials.

Gaulton wrote a letter to president/general manager Glen Sather, assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld and hockey/business operations head Adam Graves “thanking the Rangers for drafting him and thanking them for giving him the opportunity to play,” said Patrick Morris, Gaulton’s representative with Newport Sports Management Inc. in Mississauga, Ontario. Gaulton also praised the Rangers for handling and paying for preparative elbow surgery during his first camp with the club in 2008.

“In my 25 years of being in this business, I’ve never seen something like that,” said Morris, who was unaware of Gaulton’s letter, dated May 14, until he received a copy of it six days later. “It was so well thought out. It was so well written. He’s a very special character person.”

Rangers officials informed Gaulton they would not sign him several months ago, Morris said.

“He hasn’t played a lot in the last four years,” Morris said, referring to the serious elbow injury that cost the 20-year-old defenseman 94-of-136 games from 2007-09. His career high for games played is 54, set this past season.

Gaulton enters his overage season with the Otters this fall. He is eligible for the NHL Entry Draft, set for June 25-26 in Los Angeles. But the odds of Gaulton being chosen are limited, Morris said. “Teams would rather pick an 18-year-old with one of their draft picks,” Morris said. Gaulton also could be to training camp as a free agent. Teams begin making those offers following the draft.

“He’s a great young player that’s still developing,” Morris said. “His future is bright.”

No Patrick, Mitch is more than a hockey player; he is a great young man who we will miss covering but we also know that whatever Gaulton tries he will always be a winner in our book.

(Gaulton courtesy of Mark Bell/Erie Otters)

1 comment:

atlwirelesstr said...

I have been looking over the available prospects for the upcoming draft and came across one that I would love to hear your take on, Emerson Etem. This kid sounds like he is the real deal and has a huge upside. If the Rangers can improve his skating which isn't terrible he could be a big time player. The report on him is he has a lethal wrist shot that is very accurate and is a very good stick handler. His WHL and USNDT numbers look very intreging not to mention he went to Shattuck - St. Mary. I would love to hear your thoughts on him. Might be a great move if they can trade back 2 spots or so to pick up that 3rd rounder we lost to Brian Boyle.