2 Rangers draft picks sign ATOs to play with Hartford Wolf Pack

Two New York Rangers draft picks will close out the 2023-24 season in the American Hockey League after signing Amateur Tryout contracts (ATO) with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Forwards Kalle Vaisanen and Maxim Barbashev signed their ATOs on Tuesday and will be available to play when Hartford hosts Springfield on Friday.

Vaisanen signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Rangers last week. That deal begins next season.

The 21-year-old was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (No. 106 overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft. He was the fifth of eight picks the Rangers made in that draft, and the second of three selections in the fourth round.

Barbashev was selected by the Rangers in the fifth round (No. 161 overall) of the 2022 draft. The 20-year-old is the younger brother of two-time Stanley Cup champion Ivan Barbashev, who’s currently a forward for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Related: Rangers sign 2022 draft pick Victor Mancini

Rangers prospects Kalle Vaisanen, Maxim Barbashev sign ATOs with Hartford Wolf Pack

Kalle Vaisanen -- Photo courtesy Hartford Wolf Pack

Kalle Vaisanen — Photo courtesy Hartford Wolf Pack

Vaisanen and Barbashev join three other Rangers draft picks who recently signed ATOs with the Wolf Pack. Forward Jaroslav Chmelar (fifth round of the 2021 draft) is scoreless and minus-five in four games. Defenseman Victor Mancini (fifth round, 2022) is scoreless in three games. Goalie Hugo Ollas (seventh round, 2020) has yet to appear in a game.

Vaisanen had nine goals and 14 points in 58 games with TPS Turku this season and four points (one goal, three assists) in nine playoff games, when they were eliminated in the quarterfinals. The 6-foot-4, 178-pound forward had four goals and five points in 2022-23, when he played 47 games for TPS Turku.

On the world stage, Vaisanen helped Finland win a silver medal at the 2022 World Junior Championship, when he had two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games. He also represented Finland at the 2023 WJC and was named one of their Top 3 players, finishing with two points (one goal, one assist) in five games.

Barbashev just completed his fourth season in the QMJHL, totaling 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 59 games split between Shawinigan and Rimouski. He scored 32 goals and 65 points in 67 games with Moncton last season.

Hartford is looking to end a six-game losing streak Friday and has five games remaining on its 2023-24 schedule.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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