Do the New York Rangers have the next Martin St. Louis or the next Kyle Jean? The hope is somewhere in between as the team announced that they have signed Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute forward Ryan Haggerty to a three-year entry level contract. The undrafted forward signed after completing his junior year at RPI, having a very impressive season. The 6-foot, 190-pound forward scored 28 goals in 35 ECAC games this season and is hoping to provide that goalscoring ability at the next level.
The Rangers are not unfamiliar with undrafted free agents having an impact with their team. Dan Girardi was signed out of the OHL after not being drafted and has become one of the team’s prominent players. The Rangers also recently acquired St. Louis, who went undrafted out of the U. of Vermont, and signed Cameron Talbot out of the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
Haggerty is a very interesting prospect for several reasons. First is because of his age. Normally players signing with NHL teams out of college are around the age of 23. Haggerty is only 21 which means he has a lot of time to grow as a player before he hits his prime years. He has the luxury of time that many college players don’t to develop and adjust to professional hockey. The next reason is because of his skills. He has a great shot and gets the one-timer off on the power play. At RPI he played a similar spot on the power play as NHL superstars Alexander Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. After a hot start this season, the Rangers’ power play has cooled down considerably and could use a boost.
While Haggerty may not make an immediate impact for the Rangers, he is a good prospect to have. A team can never have a deep enough prospect pool, and with the Rangers without a first-round pick in 2015 and possibly 2014, signing a good prospect like Haggerty can alleviate that issue. One as talented as Haggerty who has an NHL-level shot and plays with an edge has the potential to make an impact at the NHL level. Think of a player such as Matt Read in terms of potential impact. If the Rangers get that out of an undrafted free agent then the scouts should pat themselves on the back yet again.