The Rangers have announced that they have signed 2018 28th overall pick Nils Lundkvist to an entry-level contract.
From the Rangers:
- Lundkvist, 20, skated in 52 games with Lulea in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this past season, registering 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points, along with 30 penalty minutes.
- He was named the winner of the Salming Trophy in 2020-21, which is awarded annually to the best Swedish-born defenseman in the SHL as selected by Hockey Hall of Famer Borje Salming.
- Lundkvist established SHL career-highs in several categories in 2020-21, including games played, goals, points, average ice time (21:24), and shots on goal (156).
- He ranked fifth in the SHL (ranked second among SHL defensemen) in shots on goal in 2020-21, and he also led SHL defensemen in goals and power play goals (eight) this past season. Lundkvist’s 14 goals in 2020-21 were the most by a defenseman in one season as a U21 player or younger in SHL history.
Lundkvist is 5-11, 187 lbs and is a right shot defenseman.
In parts of four seasons in the SHL, Lundkvist had 30 goals and 48 assists in 166 games and “Lundkvist’s 78 career points are the most by a defenseman while in his U21 season or younger in league history, his 166 career games are tied for the most by a defenseman while in his U21 season or younger in league history, and his 30 career goals and 48 career assists are each the second-most by a defenseman while in his U21 season or younger in league history.”
From the Rangers Prospect Reports over the last few seasons:
- 10/29/18: “He has an internal fire, the engine that burns really bright, and it shows whether you meet him or you watch him on the ice.” – Rangers Director of European Scouting Nickolai Bobrov on Nils Lundkvist
- 2/18/19: “After World Juniors, he came back (to Lulea) with a new energy and confidence. Since then, he has played great hockey and has taken his game to another level. His skating ability and speed have improved compared to last season, and he is noticeably stronger. Defensively, he is hard to beat due to his good hockey sense and mobility. Offensively, he has been more productive recently. He is taking steps to get better every day.” – Rangers European Scout Patric Kjellberg on Nils Lundkvist
- 10/7/19: “He is a very confident player this season. He makes sharp breakout passes and carries the puck with presence. He looks bigger and stronger (this season) and plays a solid defensive game. He has earned the coaches’ trust and plays a much more significant role on his team than he did last season.” – Rangers European Scout Jan Gajdosik on Nils Lundkvist
- 12/12/19: “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m one year older and one year wiser. Last season, I think I put a bit too much pressure on myself and maybe tried a bit too hard out there on the ice. Now, I only try to play as easy as possible and keep it as simple as I can. This year I’ve started to play to my strengths a whole lot more.” – Rangers prospect Nils Lundkvist on his development from last season to this season (Credit – EliteProspects.com)
- 1/20/20: “It’s obviously something I dream about, to play in the NHL for the New York Rangers. If it’s next year or the year after that, we’ll see. It’s a goal I’m trying to achieve, but I’m not in a hurry. I just want to make sure I’m ready.” – Rangers prospect Nils Lundkvist
He was recently ranked by The Hockey News as the Rangers’ third overall prospect and the 39th in the NHL.
Craig Button of TSN had Lundkvist ranked 10th on his overall prospect list.
— 4sports Hockey (@4sportshockey) June 3, 2021
Adam Rotter: This was expected and it’s certainly possible that on Opening Night next year the Rangers have all three of their 2018 first round picks in the lineup. Lundkvist has taken big steps in each season since he was picked and he joins the Rangers already young and improving defense. Where in the lineup he plays, who he plays with and how many minutes he will play will be up to the next coach of the Rangers, but another big piece of the future is officially signed up.