The Potomac native got to play seven seasons for the team he grew up rooting for, plus the Montreal Canadiens along the way. But the Rangers were the team willing to give him a one-year, $725,000 deal and a roster spot.
Halpern figured to kill penalties and take crucial faceoffs for the Rangers. Along with captain Ryan Callahan, he has been one of the top penalty-killing forwards, but Halpern hasn’t been used as heavily on faceoffs as expected.
“It’s little things where I’m kind of playing wherever’s asked right now,” he said. “It’s one of those things where, when it’s called upon, I enjoy doing it and just kind of going with the flow.”
After losing eight of his 10 draws in the season opener at the Boston Bruins, Halpern has recaptured some of the same form that led him to be fifth in the league last season at 58.3 percent.
“I struggled my first handful of games; my numbers weren’t the same as they were last year,” said Halpern, who has won 55.2 percent of faceoffs with New York. “I think it took some time to win some confidence back, from everyone. I’ve settled in a little bit more now and felt more comfortable, and I think I’m starting to get used a little bit more in that role.”
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