New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has acquired left wing Nils Ekman and defenseman Kyle Freadrich from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for center Tim Taylor.
Ekman, 25, notched NHL career-highs in all offensive categories this past season, tallying nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points, along with 40 penalty minutes in 43 matches with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He also appeared in 33 matches with the Detroit Vipers of the now-defunct International Hockey League (IHL). Ekman ranked first on the Vipers in goals and third in scoring, notching 22 goals and 14 assists for 36 points, along with 63 penalty minutes. He has skated in 71 career NHL matches with the Lightning, registering 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points, along with 76 penalty minutes. Prior to skating in his first NHL match, the Stockholm, Sweden native spent the prior three seasons in Finland with Kiekko-Espoo, registering 58 goals and 47 assists for 105 points, along with 242 penalty minutes in 145 games from 1996-1999.
The 5-11, 185-pounder was originally selected by the Calgary Flames as their sixth choice, 107th overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Lightning from Calgary on November 20, 1999, along with Calgary’s fourth round choice in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft (Vladimir Gorbunov) in exchange for current Rangers prospect Andreas Johansson.
Freadrich, 22, collected one assist last season in 13 matches with Tampa Bay, along with 36 penalty minutes. He also was with Detroit (IHL) for parts of the year, skating in 29 games with the Vipers, while registering three goals and three assists for six points, along with ranking fifth on the team with 120 penalty minutes. In his career, the 6-7, 260-pounder has appeared in 23 NHL matches.
Before joining the Lightning organization in 1999, Freadrich skated for parts of three seasons (1996-1999) with Regina of the Western Hockey League (WHL), appearing in 164 matches with the Pats, registering nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, along with 474 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in games for Syracuse of the American Hockey League (AHL) and Louisiana of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). The Edmonton, Alberta native was originally selected by the Vancouver Canucks as their fourth choice, 64th overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He signed as a free agent with Tampa Bay on July 16, 1999.
Taylor, 31, spent two seasons with New York after signing as an unrestricted free agent on July 15, 1999. He skated in 114 matches with the Rangers, tallying 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points, along with 88 penalty minutes. The eight-year veteran has appeared in 381 career contests with the Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins, registering 50 goals and 56 assists for 106 points, along with 307 penalty minutes.