The New York Rangers have signed Justin Richards to an entry-level contract for the 2020-2021 season. The free agent center has just finished playing in his junior year for the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.
OFFICIAL: Rangers have signed free agent forward Justin Richards to an entry-level contract.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 2, 2020
Justin Richards Signs with the Rangers
Richards was named alternate captain at the start of this season, after being an integral part of the Bulldog’s repeat NCAA championship winning season in 2019. He has scored 14 goals in 34 games this year and finished fourth in point production. His most successful campaign was during his breakout sophomore year where he registered 12 goals and 20 assists in 42 games, after failing to score in his freshman year.
Overall, the 5’11’’, 190 pound forward has played in all 120 games for the University of Minnesota Duluth; he has produced 26 goals and 40 assists during that span. His most notable achievements are winning back-to-back NCAA tournaments and featuring in the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team in 2019. He was also crowned NCHC’s Best Defensive Forward in each of the past two seasons.
What it Means for the Future
Last Word on Hockey’s Prospects expert, Ben Kerr, has touted him as a responsible two-way forward with good hockey IQ and the ability to kill penalties against the top lines at NCAA level. This analysis is well backed up by his performances in the dots for the Bulldogs. Richards ranked fifth in faceoff wins in the NCAA this year with 434 wins and a 59% success rate. He also has tied for first in short-handed goals with three.
Justin is the son of Todd Richards, former Hartford Whaler and the current assistant coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Todd was also the former head coach of both the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Justin received invitations to development camps with both the Blue Jackets (in 2018) and the Boston Bruins (in 2019). While he isn’t a shoo-in to make it in the NHL, the Rangers have recognised their need to replenish their lack of depth down the middle.