The Rangers have announced that they have signed forward Justin Richards of the University of Minnesota Duluth to an entry-level contract that begins in 2020-21.
Richards, 22, was selected as the “National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s (NCHC) Best Defensive Forward” the past two seasons.
He ranked fifth in the NCAA in faceoff wins, won 59% of the faceoffs he took, and finished tied for first in the NCAA with three shorthanded goals.
This past season he had 14 goals and 11 assists in 34 games and overall he had 26 goals and 40 assists in 120 college games.
He is 5-11, 190 and was part of two NCAA Championship teams at UMD.
In 2018 he described himself as “a two-way forward, I’m a center. I’m definitely responsible and trustful with the puck. I think that I have to work on my offensive side of the game, making plays, shooting pucks, and things like that.” (CBS 3)
He took part in the Blue Jackets development camp in 2018 and Bruins in 2019.
Richards is the son of current Tampa Bay assistant and former Columbus and Minnesota head coach Todd Richards. Richards was the head coach in Columbus while John Davidson was President. Todd was also an assistant for Team USA at the World Championships in 2016 with David Quinn.
Adam Rotter: Defensive forwards and role players have their place on a team and if Richards can continue to be the player he has been, it won’t be a shock if one day he is on the Rangers fourth line and PK.