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Player Profile: Mike Sauer

Posted By Adam Gavriel On Jan 25 2011 @ 2:28 pm In New York Rangers | No Comments

Back to a dman.

Mike Sauer is currently in his rookie season for the Rangers after spending his whole professional career within the organization. After being riddled with injuries and moved down on the depth chart Sauer has found himself a nice niche on the Rangers blueline amidst a healthy season. At 23 years old Sauer is just one of the many young promising defensemen that the Rangers have. Currently trying to work his way to becoming a core player for the New York Rangers, here’s more of what you need to know about Mike Sauer.

Height: 6’3

Weight: 213 lbs

Age: 23

Drafted: 2nd round (40th overall) in 2005 by the New York Rangers

NHL Experience: Currently in his rookie campaign

Before the NHL:

Before the NHL the St. Cloud Minnesota native Mike Sauer took the fork in the road towards the long path of development in order to get to the NHL. Sauer would spend three years in the WHL, probably the toughest (in the literal sense of the word) league in the CHL where he flourished as an defensive stay at home Dman with spurts of offense. Sauer was drafted by the Rangers after his rookie season in the WHL where he recorded 13 points in 32 games and was a +6. Sauer would play one more full year for the Portland Winterhawks, and would be traded to the Medicine Hat Tigers in the middle of his third and final season in the WHL. Sauer’s first two season with the Winterhawks he was able to enjoy the company of future teammate Brandon Dubinsky. Sauer’s WHL totals would come to 67 points in 156 games.

Sauer would make the jump straight from the WHL to the AHL and would begin the long process of being setback in his development due to injury. Sauer would never play a complete season for the Wolf Pack, his highest total being in his rookie season during the 07-08 year where he played in 71 games, followed by 64 in 08-09 (he would appear in three games for the Rangers this season), and only 41 games in 09-10 season. However when he was playing Sauer was a top defensemen for the Wolf Pack and his AHL totals came to 46 points in 177 career games for the Pack.

International:

Mike Sauer has never represented the USA in any major international tournament, but at 23, he’s got a long way to go to get to be able to do that.

NHL Success:

In his first three game stint with the Rangers back in 08-09 Sauer was able to show the coaching staff a limited view of what he was capable of, that is, being responsible in the defensive zone, physical when the game calls for it, and able to make the simple play to spring a rush up the ice. In these three games Sauer was a -1, and recorded 2 shots on goal.

Before this season began Sauer came to training camp among a handful of other defensemen vying for seemingly one or two spots on the blueline for the Rangers. At the beginning of the year I believed that McDonagh would beat the crowd and earn the spot. However at the end of training camp I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mike Sauer had finally made the Rangers opening lineup. At that point it was best both for McDonagh and Sauer as McDonagh seemed to need a little more fine tuning in the AHL and that Sauer was more then solid during pre-season.

Since opening night, Sauer has been an absolute staple on the Rangers back end.

Outlook 2010-2011 and Beyond:

As I hinted to above Sauer is one of the more pleasant surprises for the Rangers this season. Coming in from training camp and earning himself a spot in the top 6 Sauer has been one of the Rangers most reliable dmen on the team this season. After the start of the season where Tortorella was cycling Sauer, Gilroy, and Eminger in and out of the 5+6 spots on the backend, it calmed down and Sauer earned a spot game in and game out.

Now since he has been in the lineup every game and able to get into a groove Sauer has enjoyed a remarkable rookie season for a stay-at-home type dman. He’s even earned the respect of the coaching staff enough that in last night’s game he was paired up with Marc Staal to be matched up against the Ovechkin line of the Capitals. Sauer was absolutely brilliant in the game last night, with the help of Staal, and they held the Capitals top line scoreless in what turned out to be a 1-1 game through regulation.

Sauer sits at a +9 on the season, good for fourth on the Rangers, while averaging 15:36 time on ice per game.

There’s nothing holding back from allowing Sauer to become a top pairing dman in this league, however, he’d be a perfect fit for any teams 3 or 4 spot as a good to great stay at home defenseman. Not only this but the coaching staff has gone on record saying that Sauer has a good knowledge of the offensive side of the game, picking the right moments to pinch down the boards and keep a play alive in the offensive zone, a trait that is of great value for a defenseman in today’s NHL.

If he spends his career with the Rangers, I don’t see him surpassing Staal or Girardi on the depth chart, but he is and will continue to be a great fit on that middle pairing.

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