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October 17, 2017
Fallen Prospects: Peter Ferraro
by Sean Leahy, Correspondent
With the 24th pick in the 1992 NHL Draft, the New York Rangers select Peter Ferraro.
The Rangers thought they had a steal when Peter Ferraro was available at the 24th pick. Sure, Roman Hamrlik, Alexei Yashin, and Sergei Gonchar had already been taken, but the Blue Shirts had a lot of faith in the kid from Sound Beach, N.Y. In the fourth round, New York selected Ferraro's twin brother Chris (85th overall), and the hype machine began to churn in the New York papers. "Twin Killing" and "Double Trouble" were just two of the many Ranger-related headlines after the 1992 draft. It was obvious that out of the two, Peter has the most talent and potential.
What made Peter stand out and boost his prospect rating was his performance at the 1992 World Junior Championships. There he led Team USA to the bronze medal and was named to the All-Tournament team, which featured future NHLer's Mike Dunham, Mikael Nylander, Alexei Kovalev, and Scott Niedermayer. The following year, Peter and the Maine Black Bears, along with Anaheim superstar Paul Kariya, won the 1993 NCAA title over Lake Superior State. Ferraro's stock continued to soar at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. He scored six goals and showed flashes of brilliance and leadership playing for Team USA. The Ranger brass was ready for the kid to bring his game to the big show.
When training camp arrived in the fall of 1994, the growing success of Ferraro seemed to come to a stop. He didn't look comfortable playing against bigger and better competition. Ferraro was pushed around the ice and just could not find the space to showcase his ability. He was assigned to the Atlanta Knights of the International Hockey League and spent the entire 1994-95 season there. The following season, Ferraro moved over to the American Hockey League's Binghamton Rangers. His scoring talent finally broke through. In 68 games, he put up 48 goals and 101 points, opening eyes in the Rangers organization. The Rangers decided to promote Ferraro near the end of the 1996 season. Once again, the competition was too tough for Ferraro, and he only was able to muster one assist in five games. Disappointed in his play yet again, the Rangers demoted Ferraro to Binghamton for the 1996-97 season. As he did the previous season, Ferraro was able to play his style of hockey in the AHL. He was faster, stronger, and better skilled than many of his counterparts. He played in 75 games that season and tallied 38 goals and 77 points.
Fed up with Ferraro's inability to play at the NHL level, the Rangers cut him loose in the off-season, but he was quickly picked up by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the Steel City, Ferraro was given more of a chance to play and develop his game in the NHL. The former first round pick played in 29 games with the Pens. The longer tenure did not help to improve his game. Three goals and seven points were all Ferraro could produce and he was later waived by Pittsburgh. Thinking a second chance might be the answer to solving Ferraro's woes; the Rangers claimed him off waivers, but played him in only one game during the 1997-98 season.
During the summer of 1998, the Boston Bruins decided to take a chance on Ferraro and signed him to a one-year deal. He began the year playing for the Providence Bruins in the AHL and managed to catch the eye of Bruins coach, Pat Burns. Ferraro played in 46 games for Boston that season and contributed six goals, 14 points, 44 penalty minutes, and a +10 rating. He had shown to be a solid role player and with the Bruins out of the playoff hunt, Ferraro was sent to Providence in late March to keep playing and improve. In Providence, he brought his experience and leadership to the baby Bruin's and led them to the Calder Cup title. For his contributions, Ferraro was named the MVP of the finals. It had looked like the potential that scouts drooled over seven years earlier was finally breaking through. Yet, Ferraro's best season ever would turn out to be the last time he saw considerable ice time in the NHL.
Weeks after winning the Calder Cup title, the Bruins left Ferraro unprotected in the expansion draft. The Atlanta Thrashers drafted him, but then traded him back to Boston for Randy Robitaille. Ferraro only played in five games for Boston the next two seasons and spent the entire 2000-01 year with Providence. Ferraro played well again, posting 26 goals and 71 points in 79 games with the baby Bruins, but like they had in the past, his skills could only produce in the minors. Ferraro could not transfer his game to the NHL and that has been the downfall of what started as a bright career. He was given plenty of opportunities to prove himself at the NHL level, but he never attained what he could in the minor leagues. Last season, the Washington Capitals signed Ferraro to a one-year deal. In four games, he only managed one assist and played out the season with the Portland Pirates of the AHL. At press time, there was no word on whether the Capitals would re-sign Ferraro.
In 216 games in the IHL and AHL, Ferraro scored 103 goals and amassed 225 points. Over seven seasons and 92 games in the National Hockey League, his numbers diminished to nine goals and 24 points. Ironically, his brother Chris has scored just about as many points in the NHL (16 in 74 career games). Still only 29 years old, Peter Ferraro has plenty of years left in his hockey career, but his inconsistent play in the NHL will make teams wary of taking a chance on him. What lies in the future? It looks like Ferraro will most likely spend the majority his career in the minor leagues trying to figure out how to fit his game into the NHL style of play.
NHL STATS GP G A Pts 1995-96 NY Rangers 5 0 1 1 1996-97 NY Rangers 2 0 0 0 1997-98 Pittsburgh 29 3 4 7 1997-98 NY Rangers 1 0 0 0 1998-99 Boston 46 6 8 14 1999-00 Boston 5 0 1 1 2001-02 Washington 4 0 1 1 TOTALS 92 9 15 24