New York Rangers sign 6’7″ college forward Austin Rueschhoff

new york rangers

Western Michigan Broncos . (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

There may be no hockey being played, but the New York Rangers front office is busy, signing their third college player in a week.

The New York Rangers announced that they had signed  right winger Austin Rueschhoff, who just finished his junior season with Western Michigan University. Rueschhoff’s biggest asset is his size as he towers over other players at 6’7″ and weighs in at 230 pounds.  He is turning pro along with K’Andre Miller and Patrick Khodorenko, both recently signed the Rangers.

Rueschhoff appeared in all 36 games for the Broncos, scoring 12 goals and 26 points.  He turns 23 in September and was remarkably consistent in his three seasons, scoring 10, 13 and 12 goals.  He was second on the team in goals and third in points.  Three of his 12 goals were on the power play and he notched two game winning goals.

He finished the season on fire, scoring seven goals and adding nine assists in his last 12 games.

Here’s a goal he scored last season.

He can win faceoffs

One positive note is that despite the fact that he is listed as a right winger, he took the second most faceoffs on the team and had a winning percentage of 53%.   He won 295 of 558 draws, a skill sorely lacking on the Blueshirts.  His winning percentage was 54% in conference play.

The Broncos coach, Andy Murray told the Western Michigan website  “Austin’s improvement here at Western Michigan was impressive.”  He continued,  “A quality young man, his compete level got higher each year and an increased focus on the details have led him to this NHL opportunity with the Rangers. We are excited for him and know he has a huge upside.”

Murray knows what he is talking about.  He coached the Los Angeles Kings for six seasons, the Blues for six seasons and has 20 years experience as a head or assistant coach in the NHL.

There had been a lot of interest in Austin Rueschhoff and he attended developmental camps held by the Bruins, Blues and Blue Jackets over the last three years. If the Missouri native was on Columbus’ radar last season, he could be a John Davidson recommendation.  He was the Western Michigan rookie of the year in 2017-18.

Here’s a goal he scored in his freshman year.

A solid hockey program

Western Michigan finished in second place int he National Collegiate Hockey COnference  (NCHC) with a record of 18-13-5 and they were ranked 16th nationally by USCHO.com. The Broncos were yet another team whose dreams of the Frozen Four were dashed by the coronavirus.

Other NHL teams have been picking off Western Michigan players with senior defenseman Cam Lee signing with the Penguins and leading scorer Hugh McGing, also a senior,  signing with the St. Louis Blues.

The signing of K’Andre Miller was expected once his season ended at Wisconsin.  The additions of Khodorenko and Rueschhoff will help bulk up the teams’ depth at forward.   There’s no guarantee we will see either of the forwards on Broadway any time. Last spring the Rangers signed Patrick Newell and Jake Elmer and both spent the season in Hartford.

The college player Ranger fans are waiting for is Morgan Barron, the Cornell center who just finished his junior year.  He hasn’t indicated what he intends to do.