Rangers draft pick Adam Sykora aspires to be like 'rat' Brad Marchand

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Rangers' top draft pick aspires to be like 'rat' Brad Marchand originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Even on the Slovakian youth hockey circuit, Brad Marchand's reputation precedes him.

The New York Rangers used their first selection in the 2022 NHL Draft (second round, No. 63 overall) to take 17-year-old Slovakian forward Adam Sykora. When asked Friday which NHL player he models his game after, Sykora chose Marchand -- and chose a familiar word to describe the Boston Bruins star.

"I really like Brad Marchand from the Boston Bruins," Sykora said, via the New York Post's Mollie Walker. "He’s like a rat and he isn’t scared of [taller] players. I try to play that way."

2022 NHL Draft tracker: Here's every Bruins pick from all seven rounds

Sykora meant his comment as a compliment to the 5-foot-9 Marchand, who plays with a fierce competitiveness and isn't afraid to mix it up with much bigger opponents.

But now that he's an established NHL star, Marchand may not be appreciate being compared to vermin. Earlier this year, the 13-year veteran blasted Carolina Hurricanes forward Vincent Trocheck for calling him a rat in an Instagram post that highlighted Marchand's many NHL accomplishments.

Indeed, there's plenty more to Marchand's game than instigating: He led the Bruins in points last season with 80 (32 goals, 48 assists) and has recorded at least 80 points in each of the last five full seasons.

The 5-foot-11, 174-pound Sykora likely hopes he can emulate all aspects of Marchand's game and clearly respects the 34-year-old forward. But don't be surprised if Marchand has a response for Sykora about that "rat" comparison.