Rangers could eye these NCAA hockey free agents

With the collegiate hockey season coming to a close, a new avenue opens for the New York Rangers to build organizational depth. That is by possibly signing college free agents, players who were not selected in the NHL draft.

Every year, NHL teams track players who went undrafted in order to find late bloomers who can turn out to be diamonds in the rough. NCAA free agents are closer to reaching their potential as what type of player they will be once in the professional ranks. The Rangers and their American hockey League affiliate, Hartford Wolf Pack, have had recent success with a few of these players, including Bobby Trivigno (UMass), Brandon Scanlin (University of Miami), and Bryan Yoon (Colorado College/Utah Grizzlies).

Let’s examine which players might be of interest to the Rangers this season.

Related: Rangers prospect Gabe Perreault named to Hockey East All-Rookie Team

NCAA hockey free agents that could interest New York Rangers

Collin Graf (Quinnipiac University)

The 21-year-old forward is considered to be the best available college free agent and is a strong candidate for the Hobey Baker Award. Graf won the 2023 NCAA National Championship with Quinnipiac University, and was named CCM/AHCA First Team All-American and ECAC First Team All-Conference as a sophomore. His 38 assists during the 2022-23 season were tied for the NCAA lead. Graf missed four games with an injury earlier in the season and Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said “He’s a great defensive hockey player, we were just struggling when we didn’t have him. As he goes, we go.” The junior has 20 goals and 26 assists for 46 points in 29 games played this season, which is leading the Bobcats in all statistical categories.

Jaxon Nelson (Minnesota)

The Minnesota captain is in his fifth year as a Gopher. He’s a 6-foot-4 right-shot center who has good defensive instincts, physicality and strength to be a disruptive player. He’s a teammate of current Rangers prospect Brody Lamb (4th round, 2021 draft), who was named Big Ten First Star of the Week on March 5. His 16 goals are third on the team, and his 28 points in 35 games played are good for fourth. A faceoff win-loss record of 354-325 gives him a solid 52.1 percent win rate.

Luke Krys (Providence College)

A graduate transfer who was captain at Brown University in the 2022-23 season. The 23-year-old is a sturdy all-around defenseman who attended New York Rangers Development Camp in 2023. Krys is a teammate of current Rangers prospect Jaroslav Chmelar (5th rouns, 2021 draft). Listed at 6-foot-1 and 196 pounds, Krys skates on the right side of the Friars top defensive pair and has notched six goals and 11 assists for 17 points in 34 games. The native of Ridgefield, Connecticut, was named Hockey East Defender of the Week on Oct. 9. Luke’s father, Mark Krys, was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the eighth round of the 1988 draft, and his brother Chad Krys was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round in 2016.

Ryan Siedem (Notre Dame)

Siedem was also an attendee of the New York Rangers Development Camp in 2023. The graduate student spent the 2023-24 season with the University of Notre Dame after three seasons with Harvard, where he was teammates with current Rangers prospect Zakary Karpa (6th round, 2022 draft)). The right-shot defenseman is listed at 6-foot-2, 192 pounds and scored three goals with 17 assists for 20 points in 36 games this season. He led the team in assists, and ranked second in blocked shots, with 48. Siedem appeared in 163 games in the USHL between the USNTDP, Central Illinois and Fargo. With USA Hockey, Siedem won the U17 World Hockey Challenge, U17 Four Nations Cup and U17 Five Nations Cup.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: