Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 6/18/12

Brandon Prust, along with Ryan Callahan, is the heart and soul of the New York Rangers. His relentless attitude and persistent work ethic have both been aspects of his game that have been appreciated by the Garden Faithful as well as the coaching staff since he was first acquired from the Calgary Flames in 2010, and have carried through over the course of his three-year career with the Blueshirts so far. Prust, age 28, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 of this summer if not re-signed before then, but there's little doubt that he will be getting a call from GM Glen Sather, if not already, then soon about extending that deal into the 2012-13 campaign and beyond. 

The Good: As I said, Prust is relentless and does not allow much to faze him. Just seeing that he battled through more than half of the regular season as well as twenty playoff games with a broken finger speaks to this guy's character and his commitment to his team. He'll drop the gloves with anyone for any reason, despite only weighing in at 192 pounds and measuring 6-foot. Back in the early months of the season in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Prust fought twice in one period in defense of a teammate, which prompted head coach John Tortorella to claim that Prust had "balls as big as this building" following New York's win over the Flyers. 

Aside from the fisticuffs, Prust is a very versatile player as far as the role his coach can place him in. He kills penalties, he's responsible defensively, he puts forth an incredible work ethic on the forecheck and is very smart when it comes to picking his hits and, ultimately, his fights. Sure, he'll take the odd bad penalty here and there, but that does not occur often. Prust is a smart hockey player for a third/fourth line guy who serves as a role player more than anything. 

Another thing that stands out about Brandon is his off-ice chemistry with the team and his locker room presence. As seen on HBO's 24/7, Prust is just an all-around great guy to have around the club for multiple reasons, aside from his performance on the ice alone. 

The Bad: The only knock on Prust is that he did not contribute offensively this season as he did in 2010-11. He went from 13 goals to only five goals in a year's span, which isn't going to help him much when negotiating that new contract. The Rangers desperately need their depth to produce offensively as we saw in the playoff series against the Devils in late March, but Prust did not give them that this season. I don't think that is enough to turn Sather away from re-signing Prust, but it does place a sense of doubt there. 

Highlight of the Year:

 

Overall Assessment: If you want to know what it means to be a New York Ranger in this current day and age, Prust is one of the guys to look to on the roster.  He defines the term blue collar and carries a swagger that makes him hard to resist. As stated earlier, there's a very good chance he will be re-signing with the Rangers come July, if not before, for at least another season with the Rangers. 

Report Card Grade: B

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