The New York Rangers have added another undrafted college free agent, this time agreeing to terms Justin Richards to an entry-level contract that will begin next season. Richards recently completed his junior season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he served as an alternate captain.
Richards, 22, scored 25 points in 34 games this season for the Bulldogs, but it wasn’t just his offensive talent that earned him a contract with the Rangers. A two-time NCHC Best Defensive Forward recipient, Richards is known most for his exquisite two-way play. His defensive capabilities are a big reason why UMD captured two national titles—in fact, as a freshman he didn’t even score a single goal in his 44 appearances.
That’s likely the role the Rangers have him penciled in for if he’s to make the NHL at some point down the line. The undrafted Richards will have to make an impact on both sides of the puck, but his defense will always be his calling card.