Ren Lavoie of TVA reported on Friday that the New York Rangers signed defenseman Yegor Rykov to an entry-level contract, and the club just confirmed the signing.
OFFICIAL: #NYR have agreed to terms with defenseman Yegor Rykov on an entry-level contract.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 20, 2019
Rykov has skated in 157 career KHL games over parts of four seasons (2015-16 - 2018-19) with SKA St. Petersburg and HC Sochi, registering five goals and 28 assists for 33 points, along with a plus-19 rating and 36 penalty minutes. He helped SKA St. Petersburg win the Gagarin Cup in 2016-17, and he was named the KHL’s Rookie of the Week during the Gagarin Cup Quarterfinals and the Gagarin Cup Finals. Rykov established KHL career-highs in games played (53), assists (12), and points (14) during the 2017-18 season; he led all KHL players younger than 21 years old in games played during the season, and he also led all KHL defensemen younger than 21 years old in assists and points.
As Jack pointed out in our update on Friday,
Rykov, a left handed shot, will join the likes of Brady Skjei, Marc Staal, and Brendan Smith as LHD’s under contract for next season, and adds more fuel to the fire that the Rangers will look to move on from at least one of their current NHL defenseman. Staal, Smith, and right handed Kevin Shattenkirk have all been rumored to be on the chopping block, so it would be a shock to see that trio of veteran defenders return to New York next season.
The Blueshirts have now added Adam Fox and Rykov to the mix, and I would imagine there are plans to add someone to to hold down a top-pair role. It will be interesting to see where Rykov fits in, because his European assignment clause means he can return to the KHL.
UPDATE: 3:50 p.m.
Rykov’s two-year entry level contract has KHL assignment clause for second year only.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) May 20, 2019
This means that the Rangers can keep Rykov in the AHL in 2019-20 if he doesn’t make the team out of training camp. This type of flexibility is beneficial for the Rangers, and gives them some time to make decisions.
There’s a logjam on the blue line, and it will be interesting to see what major move sets everything in motion.