NHL New York Rangers

Daniel Carcillo Is New York Rangers’ Unsung Playoff Hero

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers Daniel Carcillo

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If anyone would have thought in January that a conditional seventh-round pick would change the fate of the New York Rangers season … they’d have been lying to you. The Rangers traded that conditional seventh-rounder to the Los Angeles Kings for well known jerk Daniel Carcillo.

For years, Carcillo had been a thorn in the Rangers’ side as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. He was well regarded by most Ranger fans as one of the dirtier players in the NHL. How quickly fans will change their mind when that dirty player in on their favorite team, instead of playing against them.

In his first game for the Rangers, Carcillo suited up against the Rangers’ arch-rival — his old team, the Flyers. Carcillo went after the Gordie Howe Hat Trick and got in a fight, but couldn’t manage the goal or assist as hard as he clearly tried. Many Ranger fans, though, did not totally buy into the “Carcillo Magic” that he would soon provide.

Carcillo would play sporadically throughout the regular season for the Rangers, mostly on the fourth line with a combination of Dominic Moore, Derek Dorsett and Brian Boyle, replacing one of them and often providing a spark for the Rangers that night.

Most Rangers experts and critics, expected Carcillo to be a distraction when he was acquired, and certainly not on the roster come Stanley Cup Playoff time. Carcillo surprised everyone and not only made the playoff roster, but became an integral part of the team and absolutely was a main factor of the Rangers’ success.

It was Carcillo who scored the put-away goal in Game 3 against Philadelphia, and it was Carcillo who opened the scoring in Game 7. Obviously, the majority of the credit for the Rangers’ playoff success is going to goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who kept New York in every game this series with the exception of game 6. People also point to the defense of Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonough, Marc Staal, Anton Stralman, Kevin Klein and John Moore as absolutely essential to this series win.

Yes, all of those guys deserve credit, but it was Carcillo who sparked the success. Carcillo was the one who answered the call to step up, to play on the second line when literally nobody besides the men in that locker room believed in him. Carcillo used to be an enemy of the Rangers; this week, he earned his Blue shirt.

Ross Simon is a contributor to Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @RossSimonSays or “like” him on Facebook