June 29, 2016

Mostly sunny

NHL: Rangers send Brunswick native Mike Rupp to Wild

Brunswick native Mike Rupp is known around the NHL for being rough, tough, and skilled.

Now, he’s about to get a little Wild.

New York Rangers' Mike Rupp competes for the puck with Carolina Hurricanes' Jamie McBain in March 2012. (AP FILE PHOTO)

The New York Rangers traded Rupp to the Minnesota Wild on Monday, dealing the 33-year-old power forward for center Darroll Powe and right wing Nick Palmieri.

Rupp is expected to fly into Minneapolis today and make his Wild debut Thursday at home against Vancouver.

“Mike is a big guy, he’s won a Stanley Cup, and he brings a lot of size, experience and grit to our team,” Minnesota general manager Chuck Fletcher said at a press conference announcing the trade.

“We believe he’s going to bring a presence to our lineup and be a real compliment to our players here. Any time you can add a valuable veteran like Mike to a young team, you try and do it.”

Rupp had played in all eight Rangers games this season, collecting 12 penalty minutes and two shots on goal while primarily playing left wing on their fourth line. The 6-foot-5, 243-pounder signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract with New York on July 1, 2011.

A Medina County Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Rupp is in his 10th NHL season and previously played with the New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

“Mike had 13 goals a couple of years ago in Pittsburgh, and (Wild coach Mike Yeo) coached him there, so we know what he can do,” Fletcher said. “He’s got a good shot, and we think he can contribute and take a regular shift for us.”

Rupp has appeared in 565 NHL games, totaling 53 goals, 41 assists, 95 points and 765 penalty minutes. The Lakewood St. Edward High graduate also scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Devils in 2003, which came against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

“I have pretty bad memories of Mike Rupp from that year,” joked Fletcher, who was working in Anaheim’s front office at the time. “All of us who were with the Ducks do.”

Fletcher quickly became serious and added that he has followed Rupp’s career closely. He said he would be comfortable if Yeo used him on any line, but expects him to make his biggest impact in the locker room.

“Mike is an honest player, he shows up every day, he works hard, and he is a true professional,” Fletcher said. “Those are very important things that he brings to our team.

“This trade came together pretty quickly, but we’re certainly glad it worked out.”

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.