We are back with our 4th edition of “Ranking the Rampage”. Last week we covered LW, so this week it’s appropriate we switch over to other side of the forward lines and look at RW. Again, we’ve an old-timer on the list that predates my time in San Antonio, but the other four I am very familiar with and a couple are on my personal “all-time” list, including one with whom I felt it necessary to just throw my rules out the window because he NEEDS to be on this list.
Let’s check em out!
5. Juraj Kolnik
154GP 40g-45a-85pts (0.55)
Kolnik goes so far back, there are no Google images of him to be found in a San Antonio uniform. A New York Islanders 4th round draft pick, Kolnik found himself in the Panthers organization for San Antonio’s inaugural season. In that first season, he scored 25 goals which was good for third on the team. The following season, Kolnik found himself a fixture in the Panthers lineup after 15 games in San Antonio. Surprisingly, he returned for a third season in 2004 and saw a drop in production. After two more seasons in Florida, Kolnik moved to Europe and has bounced around several leagues over the past eleven seasons.
4. Mikko Rantanen
56GP 24g-38a-62pts (1.10)
Longevity be damned, Mikko Rantanen was making an appearance on this list no matter what. Despite only playing in 56 games with San Antonio, Rantanen was an impact player from the first time he set foot on the ATT Center ice. He won Co-Rookie of the Year in 2016 and his 1.10 pts per game are a franchise record for players who have appeared in over 50 games. Did I mention he did all of this at the tender age of 19? One of the most exciting and dynamic players ever to play in San Antonio and he is now living up to his lofty expectations with the Avalanche playing alongside Nathan McKinnon.
3. Chad Kolarik
135GP 37g-48a-85pts (0.63)
Kolarik joined the Rampage after completing his senior season at the University of Michigan for the 2008 playoffs. In the first round series loss against the Toronto Marlies, the rookie chipped in for four goals and six points in seven games. The following season, Kolarik teamed up with UofM teammate Kevin Porter in San Antonio’s top six and registered 50 points as a first year pro. A successful second year in the Coyotes organization led to a trade deadline deal that brought back a familiar face to this series, Alexandre Picard. Kolarik has just 6 NHL games on his resume, but he has had a pretty successful minor league and European career. His is signed to play his third season with Adler Mannheim in the German league this coming season.
2. Bobby Butler
137GP 49g-57a-106pts (0.77)
Bobby Butler joined the Rampage in 2013 as a “hired gun” and mentor for the Panther’s AHL prospects. In his two seasons in San Antonio, he did both extremely well. A pure sniper, Butler had one of the best wristers in the league and sometimes made scoring look easy. His season ending achilles injury in the final month of the 2015 regular season cast a giant shadow over the most successful season in franchise history, and if you ask some fans (me included), that injury was the #1 reason the team was swept out of the first round by Oklahoma City. After two seasons in Europe, Butler returned to the AHL with Milwaukee last season and was named to the 2018 US Olympic Hockey team that played in PyeongChang.
1. Bill Thomas
187GP 67g-73a-137pts (0.73)
Thomas, like Rocco Grimaldi and Nolan Yonkman, holds the distinction of playing for the Rampage under two different NHL affiliates. Signed as an undrafted free agent by Phoenix in 2006, Thomas saw his first action in San Antonio in the 2007 season scoring 33 points in 47 games as a rookie. His second and third seasons, separated by four years, saw Thomas put up identical 52 point efforts and, in both cases, a playoff appearance. In 2012, Thomas led the Rampage to the second round for the first, and only, time in franchise history. His effort on the OT game winning goal against Chicago in round one still goes down as one of the greatest hustle plays in Rampage lore. After a single season playing in Lake Erie with the Avs organization in 2013, Thomas has since played in six separate overseas leagues in the past five seasons.
1. Denis Shvidki – 131gp 23g-57a-80pts (0.61)
2. Jeff Hoggan – 130gp 35g-33a-68pts (0.52)
3. Jim Campbell – 64gp 16g-37a-53pts (0.83)
4. Matt Murley – 76gp 21g-41a-62pts (0.82)
5. Jed Ortmeyer – 116gp 22g-27a-49pts (0.42)
Coming up: Center