While the sports world has more or less grinded to a halt in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, NHL teams are still permitted to sign players to contracts. With the NCAA cancelling the remainder of their athletic seasons, seniors have played the final game of their collegiate careers, which opens the door for them to sign contracts with professional teams. The Rangers have done just that with Western Michigan forward Austin Rueschhoff:
OFFICIAL: Rangers have signed free agent forward Austin Rueschhoff of @WesternMichU to an entry-level contract.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) March 20, 2020
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In spite of going undrafted during his three years of eligibility, teams have had enough interest in Rueschoff to invite him to summer development camps in the past. Rueschhoff attended the Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp in 2017, and spent time with the St. Louis Blues, and Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospects in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Standing at 6’7”, 230 lbs, Rueschhoff finished his collegiate career with a 35-35-70 stat line while skating in 105 contests for Western Michigan.
As a 22 year old, Rueschhoff’s entry-level deal will be one of the two year variety, and will start at the onset of the 2020-21 campaign. While Rueschhoff is likely to enter training camp in search of a 4th line spot on David Quinn’s squad, don’t be surprised to see him begin the season with AHL Hartford and carve out a depth role for Kris Knoblauch’s Wolf Pack.