New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Yegor Rykov on an entry-level contract.
Rykov, 22 (turned 22 years old on April 14), skated in 47 games with HC Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this past season, registering three goals and six assists for nine points, along with eight penalty minutes. Among KHL defensemen younger than 22 years old, Rykov tied for second in points, tied for third in goals and assists, and tied for fifth in games played in 2018-19. He tied for second on HC Sochi in average ice time this past season (19:24), and he was also tied for second among team defensemen in goals in 2018-19. Rykov tallied seven of his nine points during the season over his final 20 regular season games (two goals, five assists in those 20 contests).
The 6-3, 225-pounder also skated in six games during the 2019 Gagarin Cup Playoffs with HC Sochi, recording three assists. Rykov led KHL defensemen younger than 22 years old in assists and points in the playoffs. He led HC Sochi in average ice time (21:36) in the playoffs, and he logged at least 23:00 of ice time in four of the six games. Rykov ranked second on HC Sochi in assists and tied for third on the team in points in the playoffs, and he led defensemen on the team in both categories.
Rykov has skated in 157 career KHL games over parts of four seasons (2015-16 - 2018-19) with SKA St. Petersburg and HC Sochi, registering five goals and 28 assists for 33 points, along with a plus-19 rating and 36 penalty minutes. He helped SKA St. Petersburg win the Gagarin Cup in 2016-17, and he was named the KHL's Rookie of the Week during the Gagarin Cup Quarterfinals and the Gagarin Cup Finals. Rykov established KHL career-highs in games played (53), assists (12), and points (14) during the 2017-18 season; he led all KHL players younger than 21 years old in games played during the season, and he also led all KHL defensemen younger than 21 years old in assists and points. In addition to playing in the KHL, Rykov played parts of three seasons in the Supreme Hockey League (VHL) in Russia, and he established a single-game Russian leagues record by logging 61:19 of ice time while helping SKA-Neva win Game 5 of the VHL Final in the sixth overtime against Dinamo St. Petersburg on Apr. 25, 2018.
Internationally, the Vidnoe, Russia native has represented his country in several tournaments. Rykov registered seven points (one goal, six assists) and posted a plus-seven rating in seven games while helping Russia earn a bronze medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was named one of Russia's Top Three Players in the tournament, as he tied for first among all defensemen in assists and ranked second among defensemen in points (only trailing Thomas Chabot) in the tournament. Rykov also tallied three points (one goal, two assists) and tied for the team lead with a plus-five rating while helping Russia earn a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, and he was teammates with current Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev in the tournament. In addition, he served as Russia's captain during the 2015 IIHF U18 World Championship.
Rykov was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with New Jersey on Feb. 22, 2018. He was originally selected by the Devils in the fifth round, 132nd overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
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