As per the New York Rangers official twitter account and several other sources, the club has made its second free agent signing in four days and has agreed to terms with 20 year old defenseman Tommy Hughes.
Hughes, a shutdown d-man, played four seasons with the London Knights of the OHL. Neither Hughes nor Conor Allen will go into the books until next season, meaning that the Rangers are still at 49 contracts for this season and have room for one more on the books, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.
According to John Matisz of the Metro London News, Tommy Hughes was invited to the Rangers summer development camp last year but could not attend because of a broken foot- so it is safe to say that the Rangers have had their eyes on Hughes for quite some time.
Hughes, a right-handed shot, is not the kind of guy that is going to bring a lot of offense to a team but he is stalwart in his own end and is a celebrated shot-blocker. He is also capable of delivering big hits with his 6'2" , 215 lb frame.
(Go to 0:17 of the video to see a big, clean hit from Hughes.)
His last year with the London Knights was his most productive, scoring 1 goal and 15 assists in 67 games played. Hughes reportedly has a heavy shot and is a bit of an unorthodox skater but there is a lot to like about his game. It also should be noted that he is not the first free agent the Rangers have signed from the London Knights in recent history, he joins the ranks of current Rangers Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto (drafted, not a free agent signing).
I know that a small move like this is hardly "sexy" news but adding more depth, especially when the team doesn't have a 1st round pick next year, is the kind of move that I am always really happy to see. Worst case scenario: one more young, hungry blueliner in the mix for the Whale next season and to create competition during training camp. Adding some more depth is never a bad idea.
Your thoughts guys and gals? Let's go Rangers.