After a much longer wait than they wanted to endure, Rangers fans are finally being treated to the skill set and talent of forward Greg Meireles.
Of course, the 17-year-old rookie from Ottawa, Ontario made his official Ontario Hockey League debut last season, dressing in seven games for the Rangers in October, late December and early January. But this year, fans finally get to see Meireles suit up as an everyday member of the Blueshirts.
“Last year I was really nervous,” said Meireles on the differences between attending camp as a 16-year-old, and this past May as a 17-year-old the second time around. “I wasn’t real outgoing last year at Spring Camp, but a year later I notice a difference in myself and I see how much I’ve changed.”
The right winger spent the majority of last season as a member of the Ottawa Jr. Senators of the CCHL, tallying seven goals and 28 assists for 35 points in 48 regular season games played. He’s benefitted from the experience, which allowed him to transition efficiently into an impactful role with the Rangers forward corps, spending the first third of the season leading all rookies in assists and points.
“My main expectation I had of myself was to just make an impact on the team,” said Meireles. “Whether that’s playing a role on the penalty kill, or maybe a role on the power play, it wouldn’t really matter to me. I just want to make a positive impact.”
Anyone who followed the team last season remembers he certainly managed to make an impact in what was his third OHL game on October 12th at home to Sudbury. The forward registered his first point – an assist on a Mason Kohn goal at 12:17 of the first period – then later added two goals (one the game winner) and two more assists for a five-point performance in the Rangers 8-2 victory over the Wolves.
When asked how he looks back on that Sunday afternoon affair, his answer is simple.
“It was just the best game of my life.
“Everything was going right for me that game. I was playing with a lot of talented players, so obviously, that helped a lot,” he added. “Getting my first OHL point, then scoring my first goal, then seeing the points pile up, it was just a good moment and a great memory that I’ll always cherish.”