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Rangers Agree to Terms with Defensemen Dale Purinton and Drew Bannister

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms on a professional contract with defensemen Dale Purinton and Drew Bannister. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Purinton, 23, appeared in 62 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) last season, tallying four goals and four assists for eight points. He ranked first on the team and third in the AHL with 415 penalty minutes. On March 3, Purinton established a franchise record with 46 penalty minutes at Springfield. His plus-21 rating was tied for second on the team and ranked sixth in the league. In addition, Purinton made his NHL debut on April 9 vs. Philadelphia, recording seven penalty minutes.

In post-season play for the Wolf Pack, Purinton appeared in all 23 playoff contests, helping lead the club to the Calder Cup championship. He collected three assists, along with an AHL leading 87 penalty minutes during the post-season.

The 6-3, 215-pounder has registered eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points, along with 1,002 penalty minutes in 158 games with Hartford (AHL) and the Charlotte Checkers of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Purinton has led the Wolf Pack in penalty minutes in each of the last two seasons, with 306 penalty minutes in 1998-99 and 415 minutes last season.

A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Purinton was originally drafted by the Rangers in the fifth round, 117th overall, in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.

Bannister, 26, appeared in 44 games for Hartford (AHL) last season, tallying six goals and 14 assists for 20 points, along with 121 penalty minutes. He finished the year ranked sixth on the team and third among team defensemen with a plus-15 rating. Bannister’s two game-winning goals led all Wolf Pack defensemen. Hartford was 12-3-1 in games where he registered a point.

In post-season play for the Wolf Pack, Bannister appeared in 18 playoff contests, helping lead the club to the Calder Cup championship. He led all Wolf Pack defensemen in scoring during the post-season, collecting two goals and nine assists for 11 points.

The 6-1, 198-pounder has registered 16 goals and 35 assists for 51 points in 193 career games with Atlanta and Las Vegas in the International Hockey League (IHL) and Hartford (AHL). Bannister made his professional debut by appearing in 72 games with the Atlanta Knights (IHL) during the 1994-95 season, tallying five goals and seven assists for 12 points, along with 74 penalty minutes. In addition, he has appeared in 160 career NHL contests with Tampa Bay, Anaheim, and Edmonton, registering five goals and 25 assists for 30 points, along with 161 penalty minutes.

A native of Belleville, Ontario, Bannister was originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the second round, 26th overall, in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. he has appeared in 160 career NHL contests with Tampa Bay, Anaheim, and Edmonton, registering five goals and 25 assists for 30 points, along with 161 penalty minutes.
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