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Defense-minded forward Justin Richards signs free-agent deal with Rangers

Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs' Justin Richards during an NCAA hockey

Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs' Justin Richards during an NCAA hockey game against the Miami RedHawks on Dec. 6, 2019 in Oxford, Ohio. Credit: AP/Aaron Doster

The Rangers announced Thursday they have signed college free-agent center Justin Richards to an entry-level contract that begins in the 2020-21 season. According to CapFriendly, it is a two-year deal that pays $925,000 per season at the NHL level.

Richards, 22, played three seasons for the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the two-time defending NCAA Tournament champions (2018 and 2019), and in 2019-20, he was named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Best Defensive Forward for the second straight year.

A 5-11, 190-pound, righthanded shooter who was born in Orlando, Florida, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio, Richards had 26 goals and 40 assists for 66 points in his career at Minnesota Duluth, including a career-high 14 goals with 11 assists (25 points) in 34 games in 2019-20. An alternate captain for the Bulldogs, he was tied for the NCAA lead in shorthanded goals in 2019-20 with three, and he won 59% of his faceoffs. His 434 faceoffs won was fifth in the NCAA this season.

MSG to broadcast Rangers' 2014 series win over Montreal

MSG Network on Saturday will air each of the Rangers’ four victories over the Montreal Canadiens in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, beginning at 2 p.m. with the 7-2 Game 1 win in Montreal and concluding at 8 p.m. with the series-clinching Game 6 at the Garden.

The broadcasts will be enhanced by present-day interviews conducted by MSG’s John Giannone with several players who took part in the series — Dan Girardi, Dominic Moore, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis — which will be played during the broadcasts in 30- and 60-second bursts.

The broadcasts conclude the week of programming for MSG that featured re-broadcasts of select Rangers games during that 2013-14 season.

New York Sports