After producing 28 points in 16 games during the Oshawa Generals' run to win the Memorial Cup, Tripp was seen as a legitimate scoring prospect and was selected in the second round of the 1997 Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames. However, he struggled severely in his first season with Calgary's AHL affiliate, scoring a whole one goal in 61 games. After a second season with similar struggles, The Flames gave up on Tripp and he bounced around the minor leagues (mostly the ECHL and IHL).
Tripp then signed a contract with the Hartford Wolfpack in 2002, and at this point things started going right for Tripp. Tripp started to put up numbers that the Flames had previously hoped he could, and by January his 21 goals with the Wolfpack were the second most of any player in the entire AHL. Tripp peaked at the right time, since the Rangers would suddenly get hit with the injury bug, forcing Sather to look for reinforcements from Hartford. After failing to stick in the even the AHL only a season prior, Tripp was now on his way to New York to play with the Rangers. Keep reading to see how that went for John.
In his first NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Rangers' head coach Brian Trottier opted to stick him (and fellow rookie Jamie Lundmark) at right wing on a line with Mark Messier. The Rangers, desperate for a win, crushed the Hurricanes 5-1 and Tripp, in his first NHL game, produced two assists. After the game, Tripp told the NY Times this:
''I played in nine different places two years ago, going back and forth between five different teams. This completes everything I've ever worked hard for. So many times I just gave up. I didn't think I'd ever make it.'
Well, he did make it, though only temporarily. Trottier rewarded Tripp and stuck him on the powerplay with Eric Lindros and Mark Messier. After receiving almost 18 minutes of icetime the following game against Montreal, Tripp's playing time diminished with each passing game, and it would be six games before Tripp got on the scoresheet again, this time with his first career NHL goal against the Nashville Predators. After two more games, Tripp was sent back to Hartford, where he finished the season. Final statline: 9 games, 1 goal, 2 assists.
And so ended John Tripp's short lived tenure as a New York Ranger. The following offseason he opted to sign with the Los Angeles Kings, where he scored one goal and added five assists in 34 games. The NHL lockout would occur the following season and Tripp, like many players went to Europe during the stoppage. Tripp spent the season with the Manheim Eagles of the German Elite League and never migrated back to North America., instead spending the last seven years with multiple teams in Germany. He even gained German citizenship and has played for Germany in the World Championships every year since 2007. The now 35 year old Tripp plays for and is captain of the Cologne Sharks, and I think it's safe to say that we can close the file on his NHL career, much less his Rangers career. So if you're complaining about the Sather's inability to acquire a scoring winger right now, just remember that the Rangers, who last year saw successful development from rookies Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider, at one point could do no better than John Tripp.
I personally love getting nostalgic and looking back at obscure, random players of the past. But let me know what your thoughts are! Or, if there are players you'd like me to do a Random Ranger File on feel free to suggest them in the comments section.
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As a Rangers fan, John Tripp is a funny story of how bad the Rangers once were. As a hockey player, John Tripp is a story about a guy who worked his ass off to at least have a cup of coffee in NHL. I play with some guys who were drafted or played major Jr and weren't drafted and toiled away in the E and never got their chance to suit up in the NHL. Many people would consider John Tripp a very lucky guy.
Nice article. Hockey is huge in europe right now. Places where hockey was never played (like the country where I'm from, Croatia) have now seen leagues start up and people have been going in droves to see games. I hear stories of soccer style chaos at hockey games there... people lighting flares, screaming, waving flags and having an awesome time.
@ivanricov Thanks! Hockey definitely is picking up in smaller European countries and that is absolutely wonderful for the sport. I've watched some Swedish Elite League games and the environment definitely is similar to soccer. By the way, if you do watch soccer then I'm a pretty big fan of Nikica Jelavíc. Croatia is definitely an underrated soccer country.
@Herman_NYRBlog we have always been overachievers, and I'm very proud of that. For a country of 4 mil people we do pretty well in lots of sports. btw wouldn't it be great to see that kind of atmosphere in MSG? I know people think it is a loud arena, and i love the place like no other... but those people have never been to a soccer game in europe... its insane... thats the way you cheer for your team... minus all the violence...