The New York Rangers have signed center Steven Fogarty to an entry-level deal, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.
Fogarty, who turns 23 in April, was the Rangers' 2011 third-round selection and just completed his senior season at Notre Dame.He recorded 23 points in 37 games for the Fighting Irish and helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament, where they lost in overtime to Boo Nieves' Michigan.
The Rangers' prospect pool is in a period of transition. A handful of promotions to the Rangers as well as many departures has left the cupboard bare in Hartford. There's a desperate need for fresh blood, and Fogarty will be one of many new faces for next season.
Fogarty has had an interesting development. The Rangers drafted him out of Edina High School in Minnesota, where he was a big-time point producer and drew comparisons to Derek Stepan. After committing to Notre Dame, he took a gap year and played in the BCHL, which is the highest level of juniors one can play in without sacrificing NCAA eligibility. On a Penticton Vees team that was absolutely loaded and set BCHL records, Fogarty found himself in the unfamiliar role of shutdown center. It made him a better all-around player and definitely served him well for the transition to college hockey.
At Notre Dame, Fogarty immediately became a favorite of Head Coach Jeff Jackson. He was used on the PK and in big defensive minutes even as a Freshman. By his Junior season, he was named team captain. The problem has always been in offensive consistency. He would have spurts of good production, and then lengthy spells in which he barely touched the score sheet. Twenty-three points in 37 games as a senior isn't terrible, but it isn't anything to get excited about. Of course, it's only going to get harder in the pros. It's safe to say that his offensive game hasn't come along as the Rangers have hoped.
In an ideal world where everything clicks, Fogarty turns into a player like the 2012-2014 version of Jarret Stoll. A checking line center who takes important faceoffs, plays the penalty kill, and can chip in a point every three-or-four games. At a minimum, I can easily see him becoming a dependable leader for the Wolf Pack much like Ryan Bourque was the last couple of seasons. But Fogarty does have enough tools that, combined with his size and brain, a future in the NHL is possible. With a weak prospect pool and a lot of dead weight with expiring contracts in the minors currently, it makes sense for the Rangers to give Fogarty a shot.