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Report: Rangers Sign Forward Justin Fontaine

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The Rangers replace Nathan Gerbe with the defensively-apt former Minnesota Wild winger.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a strange one. The Rangers have signed forward Justin Fontaine to a two-way contract, it appears. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported that the Rangers placed Fontaine on waivers today, which is strange given that nobody had reported that Fontaine had signed with the Rangers to begin with.

However, Fontaine's agent, Jay Grossman, confirmed the signing on Twitter. The signing seems to be official and the intention is presumably to send Fontaine to the AHL, which would require him passing through waivers first.

Fontaine, 28, was one of this season's quality depth forwards to inexplicably struggle to find a job. After failing to earn a contract in the summer, he took tryout offers from both the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars but failed to stick with either team.

Fontaine is a phenomenal shot-suppressing winger, and has produced adequate point production in his NHL career, averaging 11.2 goals and 28.2 points per 82 games; though he had just five in 60 games for the Minnesota Wild last season. Fontaine has proven over the last three years that he is a perfectly good fourth-line winger who can be a key penalty killer and chip in the occasional goal.

Fontaine is effectively a replacement for Gerbe, but truly he is an upgrade. Assuming he clears waivers, Fontaine will be a much-needed skilled veteran forward for a Hartford team that is currently dependent solely on prospects to do the heavy lifting. He also becomes the first choice for a call-up in the case of a forward injury.