New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather
announced today that the club has agreed to terms on a professional contract with the club's first round draft pick from the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, goaltender Al Montoya. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Al is one of the top goaltending prospects in hockey and we are extremely pleased to have signed him," stated Sather. "We feel this will be a big step for Al in advancing his development. He has been working extremely hard this summer and we are looking forward to seeing him on the ice at training camp in September."
Montoya, 20, appeared in 40 games with the University of Michigan Wolverines of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) last season, posting a 30-7-3 record, along with a 2.52 goals against average and a .895 save percentage. The junior also led the nation in minutes played with 2,358:51. Montoya also set a career-best shutout streak of 150:01 from Oct. 23 through Oct. 30, and followed that with a second shutout streak of 128:40 from March 11 through March 18. He also posted a career-best 11-game winning streak from February 11 through Mar. 25 and a career-best 14-game unbeaten streak from January 29 through March 25.
In six 2005 post-season contests, Montoya registered a 5-1 record, along with a 1.67 goals against average and a .912 save percentage, helping lead the club to the Midwest Regional Final. For his stellar play, he was named to the All-Midwest Regional Team. At the conclusion of the season, he was selected to the Academic All-Big Ten Conference Team.
The 6-1, 201-pound goaltender appeared in 123 career CCHA contests with the Wolverines, posting a 86-29-8 record, along with a 2.36 goals against average. Montoya ranks among the leaders in several categories in the university's all-time record books, including: fourth on the all-time wins list with 86; third all-time with 13 shutouts; tied for first with a .908 save percentage; third in goals against average with a 2.36 GAA; and fifth all-time in minutes played with 7,246:51. In post-season play, he appeared in 20 career contests, posting a 15-5 record, along with a 1.80 goals against average, a .928 save percentage and three shutouts.
In 2003-04, Montoya enjoyed a career year with several distinguished honors and achievements. He appeared in 40 games for the Wolverines, posting a 26-12-2 record, along with a personal-best 2.23 goals against average and six shutouts. The sophomore was named to the Jofa/AHCA All-American West Second Team, the All-CCHA Second Team, a finalist for the CCHA Goaltender of the Year, CCHA All-Academic honorable mention. The club's MVP for the 2003-04 season established single-season school records with six shutouts and a .917 save percentage.
A graduate of the United States National Team Development Program, Montoya has represented the United States on several occasions. As a member of Team USA at the 2004 World Junior Championships, Montoya backstopped the club to the country's first-ever gold medal finish. In the tournament, he started all six contests, posting a 1.33 goals against average and a .944 save percentage, along with two shutouts. Montoya's goals against average and save ratio rank second all-time among US-born goaltenders at the World Junior Championships. For his efforts, he was awarded the Directorate Award as the tournament's top goaltender. At the 2005 World Junior Championships, he posted a 3-4-0 record, along with a 3.36 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
The Glenview, Illinois native was the Rangers first selection, sixth overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.