Rangers Sign College Free Agent Mat Bodie
The captain of the Champion Union College hockey club signs with the Rangers.
#NYR College free agent defenseman Mat Bodie's agent, Brian Bartlett, confirms to ESPN that his client has agreed to a deal with Rangers— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) April 15, 2014
#NYR Bodie's entry-level deal begins next yr. He'll stay at Union College this spring to finish his degree. WIll join Rangers for dev. camp— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) April 15, 2014
From Strang's article:
The 24-year-old East St. Paul, Manitoba, native finished his senior season with eight goals and 39 points, leading all Union College defensemen.
Bodie (6-foot, 165 pounds) will not join the Rangers this season; instead, he will remain at school to finish his degree.
Bodie, 24, is a left-handed defenseman and was a stand-out on Union College's championship team this season. Bodie served as the team's captain and is regarded as a guy with a lot of character and leadership qualities. He was also a second team All-American this season. Bodie, despite his lack of an NHL-frame, was one of the most sought-after college free agents so it's encouraging to hear that the Rangers landed him. Bodie is regarded as a real threat with the puck and is an outstanding skater that displays great poise and vision.
The comparison that many people jump to make about Bodie is comparing him to the Bruins standout rookie (and Ranger killer) Torey Krug. Krug has had an outstanding rookie campaign in Boston despite his lack of an NHL-frame. Bodie is likely going to need to pack on a lot of muscle weight to compete against NHLers. He is certainly going to be a guy worth keeping an eye on in camp after the offseason.
These college free agent signings take a lot of sting out of losing early draft picks in the last few years in the Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis deals but it does come with some risks. Bodie is regarded as simply being better than Matt Gilroy was but I wouldn't hold our breath on him being the next Torey Krug just yet. Bodie was often in the shadow of his defensive partner, Shayne Gostisbehere. Gostisbehere was taken in the 3rd round by the Flyers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and had a greater flair for the dramatic than Bodie did while at Union but Gostisbehere constantly credited Bodie for his leadership and his positive influence on the team and himself. Looks like the Rangers might have found someone special in Mat Bodie.
Oh, and he also looks nice in a tie.
So, what do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.
UPDATE by Joe Fortunato: I'm a jerk and didn't realize Mike already posted a story. Stop throwing things at us. Just one thing to add to the story:
Here's an excerpt on Bodie from United States of Hockey:
The Rangers have been extremely aggressive in acquiring college free agents this spring and they may have scored their biggest UFA yet. Mat Bodie is fresh off of captaining Union to its first national championship, capping a rather brilliant collegiate career. In four years with the Dutchmen, Bodie posted 124 points in 154 games. As a senior, he had a career year with 39 points in 40 contests including 31 assists and was named a first-team All-American. That was ahead of more heralded drafted teammate Shayne Gostisbehere. Bodie is an excellent skater with terrific offensive sense. He was incredible in the national tournament this year with seven points in four games, including a goal in each game. That's just incredible. Bodie has a very quick, accurate shot that gets to the net with some zip. Bodie can defend as well as you may have seen in the national championship game. He's aggressive and reads plays extremely well at both ends and has excellent recovery speed. He distributes well and was a big part of Union's ability to burn teams in transition and out-possess just about everybody. He's a guy that can drive the play.