The New York Rangers made some news with the announcement that they had signed goaltending prospect Tyler Wall to an Entry Level Contract. He adds to an already robust roster of netminders.
During this hiatus from NHL hockey, the New York Rangers have been busy. Friday, they added Tyler Wall to the list of prospects signed to Entry Level Contracts. Getting him under contract was important. He had to be signed to a contract by August 15 or he would have become a free agent.
After drafting him in 2016, the Rangers had four years to get him under contract since he remained in college for the entire time. Considering the depth of the Rangers goaltending pipeline, it was possible that Wall could have waited until August and then he would have had his pick of NHL teams to sign with.
— UMass Lowell Hockey (@RiverHawkHockey) May 8, 2020
Wall has been considered one of the best goalies in the NCAA and help U.Mass-Lowell to the 12th best rating in college hockey. He had his second straight outstanding season in goal for the River Hawks, going 18-8-6 in 32 games with a goals against average of 2.10 and a .931 save percentage.
— UMass Lowell Hockey (@RiverHawkHockey) February 23, 2020
Wall turned 22 in January and is 6’3″, 215 pounds so he fits the current NHL trend towards big goaltenders.
Wall has had an interesting NCAA career. He had a brilliant freshman season with a 26-10-1 record, a 2.06 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He fell victim to the sophomore jinx, even losing his starting job. He finished the season with 3-9 record and a mediocre 3.98 GAA and .868 save percentage. After that year you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who would predict a professional future for him.
He had an excellent comeback season in 2018-19, going 11-7-3 with a stellar 2.09 GAA and .921. save percentage. This season was more of the same with Wall being named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week six different times including three straight weeks in the fall.
After 19 games Wall had a record of 12-3-4 with a GAA below 2.00 and he was being hailed as a candidate for the Mike Richter Award, given to the best collegiate goaltender. He didn’t finish as strongly with a 6-5-2 record in last 13 games, allowing 34 goals in that span. The Richter Award was given to his Hockey East rival, Jeremy Swayman of Maine. Wall was still honored as a third team Conference All-Star.
Another late draft gem?
The Rangers picked Wall in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the 174th overall pick. He was the 18th and final goalie selected in that draft. One goalie from that draft, Carter Hart, has made it as a regular in the NHL. Hart was the 48th selection by the Flyers that year.
If Wall can make it to the NHL he will be another in a series of goaltending gems plucked by the Rangers in late rounds, a group that include Henrik Lundqvist and Igor Shesterkin. He is an Ontario native who played his youth hockey with the Leamington Flyers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL).
At the time of the draft he was the 30th ranked North American goaltender by NHL Central Scouting and he was ranked #195 by hockeyprospect.com.
Wall is destined to play in Hartford next season along with Adam Huska. His ELC is for two years and is reportedly for the maximum, $925k per year.
Since the season was suspended, the Rangers have signed defenseman K’Andre Miller and forwards Patrick Khodorenko, Justin Richards and Austin Rueschhoff. The team needs to sign Swiss defenseman Nico Gross by June 1 or he becomes a free agent and they are waiting on Morgan Barron to decide if he is going to return to Cornell for his senior year or turn pro.
The Rangers also need to sign a veteran goaltender in order to have a goalie to expose in the 2021 Seattle expansion draft. Veteran netminder J.F. Berube would fill that need, but he is an unrestricted free agent after this season.