Friday: The Rangers have announced that they have agreed to terms with Elmer on an entry-level contract.
Thursday: The New York Rangers are “closing in” on an interesting junior player, reports TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The Rangers are expected to sign forward Jake Elmer of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes to an entry-level contract. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks adds that it will be a three-year deal beginning next season. Elmer has 38 goals and 78 points in 66 games this season.
While it has been a breakout season for Elmer, it hasn’t always been so easy for the 20-year-old winger. Elmer struggled to stick in the WHL early on, playing just 20 games over two seasons with the Regina Pats while spending more time in the junior-A AJHL. A trade moved him to the Kootenay Ice ahead of the 2016-17 season where he finally found consistent play time, but still lacking production. A second deal sent him to Lethbridge last year, where he has finally grown into a consistent scorer. However, after recording just 37 points last season, no one could have predicted that he would more than double that total this year. Playing next to presumptive 2019 top-ten pick Dylan Cozens, Elmer’s game has taken on a whole new level, as he leads the Hurricanes in goals and is third in points.
Yet, Elmer is still a player with a chip on his shoulder. He will undoubtedly again face doubts as he enters the pro level, but the hard-working right wing has defied expectations to this point and will look to continue that trend. Elmer is highly likely to spend time in the minors with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, but there is certainly an avenue for him to see action in New York sooner rather than later. Currently, Jesper Fast is the only right-handed winger on the Rangers’ roster and none of the right-shot wings in the pipeline were drafted any higher than the fifth round besides 25-year-old Steven Fogarty. There’s an argument to be made that upon signing his ELC, Elmer will immediately become the Rangers’ top right wing prospect with the only real competition coming from another undrafted free agent, Ville Meskanen. It’s a great fit for Elmer and New York can only hope that the available opportunity only further advances his competitive nature and the upward trajectory of his development.