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Rangers sign Nils Lundkvist to ELC

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That bright future we all talk about just got a little bit closer

Switzerland v Sweden: Group A - 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Photo by EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

The New York Rangers have signed Swedish defenseman Nils Lundkvist, 20, to an entry-level contract. Lundkvist was the Rangers' first-round pick in the 2018 Draft, going 28th overall. Over the past few years, he’s seen his stock soar as one of the most promising young blue line prospects in hockey.

Lundkvist just put together back-to-back 30-point seasons in the SHL with Luleå. This season, he led all defensemen in the SHL with 14 goals and eight power-play goals. He finished the 2020-21 campaign with 32 points in 52 games, which was good for fifth in the SHL among all defenders in scoring. He averaged 3.0 SOG/GP, which placed him in the top-tier for shooting rates among SHL defensemen with former NHLer Éric Gélinas.

The offensive side of Lundkvist’s game has clearly come a long way since the Rangers drafted him in 2018. After scoring three goals with Luleå in 41 games in the 2018-19 season, Lundkvist has scored at least 11 goals in his last two seasons.

This season, Lundkvist averaged 21:24 TOI/GP — up from 20:18 TOI/GP in 2019-20 — and 24:37 TOI/GP in the 2021 postseason. He also picked up five assists in three games at the 2021 Worlds in Latvia for Team Sweden before being forced to exit the competition prematurely due to an injury.

Lundkvist has been considered one of the Rangers’ top prospects since he was drafted. He’s a right-handed, 5-foot-10 blueliner with exceptional puck skills and mobility. He is absolutely a player to watch in training camp.

Data courtesy of shl.se and EliteProspects.com.