The Rangers have announced that they have signed free agent defenseman Tommy Hughes.
Hughes, 20, is 6-2, 215lbs and played for London in the OHL.
Via the London Free Press, assistant London GM Rob Simpson said that Hughes fits the type of player that the Rangers are looking for. He added “he’s that Dan Girardi-type of big, hard-working, shot-blocking D-man who can take care of his own end.”
The paper says that Hughes intended to join the Rangers at training camp in September but training camp was cancelled because of the NHL lockout.
His contract will not start until next season. He will join the Whale on an ATO when London is eliminated from the OHL playoffs.
Hughes was the London Knights scholastic player of the year in 2011 and was “far from the fastest” player on the Knights and maybe the least offensively inclined.
Ryan Pyette described him as “the consummate late bloomer.”
Hughes was invited to the Rangers prospect development camp last summer but was not able to participate because of a broken foot. MetroNews says that Hughes and scouts from the Rangers have been in contact for over a year.
Former Capitals coach and current Knights coach Dale Hunter said that Hughes is “fearless” and keeps getting better every year. Hunter added that “he’s a very good skater. He’s fast. He stays in a crouch, which he should anyways, and he’s strong.”
MetroNews says that Hughes could easily follow in the path of former Knights defensemen Dan Girardi and Marc Methot.
NEW YORK, April 1, 2013 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Tommy Hughes.
Hughes, 20, registered one goal and 15 assists for 16 points, along with 66 penalty minutes and a plus-17 rating in 67 games with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season. He established career-highs in games played, assists, points, and penalty minutes. Hughes tied for sixth on the team in penalty minutes and eighth in plus/minus rating. He posted three multi-point performances, including two multi-assist efforts and his first career multi-point game on September 23 at Guelph (one goal, one assist). He also recorded seven assists in a 12-game span from February 2 at Oshawa to March 3 against Kitchener.
Hughes is currently tied for seventh on the team in the playoffs with a plus-four rating following London’s first round sweep (4-0) of Saginaw. He has tallied one assist through four post-season games.
The 6-2, 215-pounder has skated in 169 career regular season contests over four seasons with London (OHL), registering three goals and 29 assists for 32 points, along with 169 penalty minutes and a plus-55 rating. He established career-highs in goals (two) and plus/minus rating (plus-30) during the 2011-12 season. His plus-30 rating ranked second on London that season. Hughes has also registered one goal and four assists for five points, along with 34 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating in 29 career playoff contests with London.
The London, Ontario native recorded his first career point with an assist on December 9, 2010, against Guelph. He made his OHL debut on January 21, 2010, against Kitchener.