Toronto sports insider Josh Rimer, who broke the story that Ralph Krueger was about to be fired, had an interesting tweet on Sunday about free agent d-man Paul Ranger: “If Ranger goes to an NHL team the Oilers are the front runners.”

Ranger was once a good NHL defenceman, but recently sat out most of three seasons due to unspecified personal reasons. He came back this season, though, and had a good season for Dallas Eakins on the Toronto Marlies.

I asked Rimer if the Oilers were front runners due to the Eakins connection.

“Yes,” he said. “I know Eakins helped Ranger love the game again.”

In 51 games with the Marlies this year, Ranger got 25 points. On AHL.com I reviewed one of those games against the OKC Barons, not to be able to fairly and accurately rate Ranger, but to get a first impression of his game, his style of play. I posted on this earlier, finding Ranger to be a big guy, 6-foot, 3-inches, 210 pounds, who takes the man, but didn’t play a nasty game.

He moved well on the ice, playing a flow kind of game, moving up quickly and effectively into the play. His passing was strong. He got off a few wonderful passes in the offensive end. His shot didn’t appear to be anything special. In his own end, he played a sound enough positional game, though he went for the puck on one Taylor Hall rushed and got turned inside out. He gets down low often, something like Ladislav Smid, to block shots and passes.