Not a bad week for Dylan Garand. The young goaltender was named to the Canadian World Junior Championship team–where he could potentially be the starter for the upcoming tournament–and has now inked his first NHL contract. The New York Rangers have signed the goaltender to a three-year, entry-level contract. He will return to the Kamloops Blazers when the World Juniors concludes.
Garand, 19, is expected to start tonight’s pre-tournament tune-up against Russia and has the inside track to the crease for Canada. He was at the tournament last year as well but ended up playing in just one game as Devon Levi stole the show. If he does win out it would be an impressive feat, given his competition in 15th-overall pick Sebastian Cossa and London Knights star Brett Brochu. Garand has played the best out of the three this season, posting an eye-popping .932 save percentage in 19 games for the Blazers. He’s 15-4 with a 1.85 goals-against average in those games as he continues to impress now more than a year after slipping to the fourth round.
Selected 103rd overall, Garand was the eighth goaltender off the board in 2020 but has done nothing but stop the puck and win games since. In 18 games last season with the Blazers he posted a .921 and went 15-3, while also getting his first taste of professional hockey with the Hartford Wolf Pack. That’s likely who he’ll join after his WHL season comes to an end, and where he’ll play in 2022-23.