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Rangers sign UMD center Justin Richards to entry level contract

University of Minnesota-Duluth center comes off strong junior campaign

The Rangers have signed another undrafted NCAA free agent, landing center Justin Richards from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The 5’10”, 188 lb center put up 14-11-25 in 34 games this year, his junior year, which followed his 12-20-32 in 42 game sophomore season.

Per Josh Khalfin (private account, can’t link to the tweet), Richards has been a solid all-around guy the past two seasons.

He’s been trending up all season and has a decent NHLe. This suggest that, while nothing is certain, he could pan out to be a decent bottom-six center who is good in all three zones.

This is another solid low risk, decent reward kind of signing. Considering how thin the Rangers are at center prospect depth, these are always a welcomed sight.

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  • Sure looks like a good fit at 3C or 4C. Give him a good luck in training camp (whenever that is) and a chance to get up to speed in Hartford. We might just luck into another Dominic Moore.

  • All I’ve read about this kid is he is a very good face-off guy, winning some 59%. He also is a very good defensive player. He would make a good fourth line guy, and we got him on the cheap. What is there to lose by signing him, nothing!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Agreed Walt.

      If you look at the org roster, a lot of spots to fill. Not every signing is meant for the big club. Hartford has to have a roster too.

  • Bottom 6 in Hartford.

    Doesn’t have the size, hasn’t put up the kind of points to show he has enough skill to be an NHLer(the immortal Jimmy Vesey scored at double the rate the same year of college.)

    There’s no real depth in the system so it’s no big deal, but don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed.

    • Reen

      The cost was zero, so whatever comes of it didn’t cost us squat!!!!!!!!

      The only reason I posted in the first place was for his face-off skill, and very good defense. Jimmy wasn’t very sound defensively either, where this kid shines, or so they say……………Stay safe my friend!!!!!

      • Very good defense is great, but a guy like Barron plays the 200ft game and still is putting up points at that level. Fogarty is a replacement level player and scored at a similar pace to Richards, but is 6’3”.

        Asides from going to hockey games and my local pub, not much has changed since we went into lockdown. I was 2 steps ahead of the Grim Reaper for my last euro trip.

        Now I’m just watching USHL, Hartford & Finnish junior games I missed.

  • Go after Adam Lowery one of the top face off men in the lg along with being big, physical and defensive

    • Yea pass unless that means no re-signing Brendan L. Than in that case, yes! That dude will be a contract nightmare just because he throws fist. JG can’t worry about paying off 20 point types of player’s. He’s already paying Trouba 50+ mill to not put up 40-50 points.

      Lowery will want to cash out and he’s never put up better than 30 points or 15 goals. You can’t add someone like that while you bump up someone like Chytil. As much as the Rangers need a reliable Swiss army knife for the bottom 6 (really need for the middle 6). I just can’t see management putting that much faith in Chytil.

      That said, I suspect a move to make the center depth much more stronger than before. Metro teams like Wash, Philly and Pitts 1-2 punch down the middlle are just to strong to compete with in the standings.

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