The Rangers added another young prospect to their mix on defense when the club signed 22-year-old Russian Yegor Rykov to an entry-level contract, which the team announced Monday.
Rykov will join a crowded group of prospects on the blue line for training camp. Earlier this month, the Rangers acquired Jericho native Adam Fox in a trade from Carolina and then signed him to an entry level contract. Ryan Lindgren and Libor Hajek, who both are 21, played at AHL Hartford last season and saw limited action with the Rangers, will get long looks in camp this fall as the Rangers try to figure out how to improve a defense that allowed 267 goals in 2018-19.
Rykov played in the KHL for HC Sochi, for whom he skated in 47 games, scoring three goals to go with six assists and eight penalty minutes. The 6-3, 225-pound, lefthanded shot was tied for second in points, tied for third in goals and assists, among KHL defensemen 22 or younger. He was second on his team in ice time, averaging 19:24 per game. He had three assists in six games in the Gagarin Cup playoffs.
Rykov, originally a Devils draft pick in 2016, was acquired by the Rangers in the trade that sent Michael Grabner to New Jersey in 2018. Rykov was a teammate of Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev on Russia’s silver medal-winning team at the 2016 World Junior Championships.
Rykov’s contract is a two-year deal that comes with a $925,000 cap hit and has a European clause in the second year, which would allow him to return to Russia rather than having to go to AHL Hartford if he doesn’t make the NHL roster.