We have come to the finale of our summer series, “Ranking the Rampage” where I give you my completely unbiased (wink wink) rankings of all-time Rampage greats by position. If you missed any of the other rankings, please check them out.
Today, we will be covering the heart of the forward group, Center. Now, before we get into the players, it is important to understand that some of these players spent a good deal of time playing at a wing position while in San Antonio. However, at the beginning of this exercise, I decided to use hockeydb.com as my reference for listed position, so if a player is listed as a center there, then they qualify here. Because of this, and the fact there are several centers who had significant careers in San Antonio, some players you may expect to see make this list got pushed down to Honorable Mention.
There were a few players who had outstanding individual seasons who failed to make the top five. Additionally, there are players who shuttled back and forth to the NHL for multiple seasons, therefore significantly reducing their games played in an individual season(s) who you also won’t see make it.
Finally, a few players got some bumps due to the role they played on the team. Captains, leaders, and fan favorites. Enough with the pleasantries, lets get to it.
5. Greg Rallo
207GP 55g-61a-117pts (0.56)
Rallo ranks second all-time in games played in a Rampage uniform and is in the top ten in all major offensive categories. More importantly, the way he represented both himself and the team on and off the ice gave him a step up over some of the other players with better individual seasons. A true class act and fan’s player, Rallo gave it everything he had every shift and was an outstanding leader while in San Antonio. He recently retired to join the Milwaukee Admirals coaching staff after playing three of the last four seasons with the Texas Stars.
4. Bracken Kearns
141GP 42g-53a-95pts (0.67)
Bracken Kearns could do just about anything a coaching staff could ask, and he would do it well. A great two-way center, Kearns killed penalties, played on the power play, and as seen above, could hold his own in a fight when needed. The former Captain scored 20+ goals in both of his seasons in San Antonio and his 95 points ranks him eighth all-time for the Rampage. The definition of a journeyman veteran AHL player, Kearns has played for five AHL teams since departing and recently signed to play in the top Austrian league at the tender age of 37.
3. Yanick Lehoux
102GP 40g-51a-91pts (0.89)
In 2006-07, Lehoux put up arguably the best single season offensive performance in team history. His 31 goals (2nd all-time) and 42 assists (1st) led to a franchise record 73 points, eight more than Brett MacLean’s 65 point effort in 2009-10. Remarkably, that season could’ve been significantly better had he not been recalled to Phoenix for a seven game stint. His record breaking season was sandwiched between two seasons split between San Antonio and Europe where Lehoux scored 18 more points in 30 games played. After one more season in the AHL, playing with Hamilton, the Montreal native moved overseas to play in Europe before finishing up with two seasons in the Quebec based LNAH.
2. Rocco Grimaldi
185GP 60g-68a-128pts (0.69)
What can really be said about long-time fan favorite Rocco Grimaldi? A dynamo on skates and electric with the puck, Grimaldi, like Rallo, played more wing than center in his time in San Antonio. Playing mostly in the middle during his rookie season, Rocco scored 42 points (14g-28a) for the 2015 Division winning team. After departing for Portland when the Panthers pulled out of San Antonio, Rocco made his return to the Alamo City in style scoring 31 times for the Rampage in 2016-17. While battling injuries in his final season in San Antonio, he still managed to tally 31 points in 49 games. Grimaldi signed with the Nashville Predators on July 1st and will likely be a key contributor the Milwaukee Admirals this season.
1. Joel Perrault
154GP 60g-73a-133pts (0.86)
Despite never playing more than 47 games in any single season, Joel Perrault was one of the more productive players in Rampage history. Couple this with the fact that, unlike Grimaldi, he played almost exclusively at center for his entire career, and you have your #1 Rampage center of all time. Originally an Anaheim draft pick, Perrault was traded to Phoenix in March of 2006 and joined the Rampage for the final 12 games. A regular visitor to the AHL transaction wire, Perrault spent his three full seasons with the Coyotes shuttling back and forth to San Antonio scoring 112 points in 121 AHL games. A highly skilled center with good size, who had a knack for scoring big goals late in games. After leaving San Antonio, and spending a single season with the Vancouver organization, Perrault went on to play five more seasons in Europe before retiring in 2016.
Drew Shore – 134GP 26g-69a-93pts (0.71)
Mike Green – 125GP 38g-57a-95pts (0.76)
Kevin Porter – 94GP 28g-47a-75pts (0.80)
Kyle Turris – 86GP 28g-43a-71pts (0.83)
Jeff Toms – 64GP 30g-33a-63pts (0.98)
Vincent Trocheck – 78GP 24g-37a-61pts (0.78)
There you have it Rampage fans. Your best of the best.
If we were to make a lineup of all-time greats, it would look something like this:
Brett MacLean/Joel Perrault/Bill Thomas
David Spina/Rocco Grimaldi/Bobby Butler
Eric Beaudoin/Yanick Lehoux/Chad Kolarik
Mikkel Boedker/Bracken Kearns/Mikko Rantanen
Sean Sullivan/Alex Petrovic
Colby Robak/Duncan Siemens
Bryan Helmer/David Schlemko
Thank you for reading the series. We will be back for some occasional musings throughout August and then will hit it hard once training camp opens in September.