The Rangers announced Wednesday they have signed Finnish defenseman Tarmo Reunanen, a fourth-round draft pick of theirs in 2016, to an entry level contract.
The move comes little more than two weeks before it is expected the Rangers will select Finnish star forward Kaapo Kakko with the No. 2 pick overall in the NHL draft in Vancouver, so it’s possible the signing may have something to do with bringing in a player Kakko is familiar with to help him feel more comfortable joining the Rangers for training camp in the fall.
Reunanen, 21, played against Kakko in Finland’s Liiga, skating in a career-high 58 games for Lukko Rauma and recording career highs in goals (six), assists (19) and points (25) in a breakout season for him. The 6-0, 178-pound, left-shooting offensive defenseman had one goal and four assists in six playoff games for Lukko.
He will join a crowded defensive group in training camp, one that features a number of young players looking to step up to the big club, including 21-year-olds Libor Hajek, Ryan Lindgren and Adam Fox of Jericho, who was acquired in a trade with Carolina in April.