New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Sam Klassen.
Klassen, 20, skated in 72 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL) last season, registering two goals and 18 assists for 20 points, along with 92 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in games played, goals and plus-minus rating (plus-27). Klassen ranked fourth among team defensemen in assists and fifth in points. He also finished fourth on the club with 92 penalty minutes, while his plus-27 rating ranked seventh on the Blades.
The Watrous, Saskatchewan native recorded a season-high, three-game assist streak from November 22 against Brandon to November 30 at Prince George, collecting six assists over the span. Klassen tied his career-high for most assists in a game with three assists in the final game of the streak. In addition, he recorded one assist and 10 penalty minutes in seven postseason contests with Saskatoon.
The 6-2, 200-pounder has skated in 182 career WHL games with Saskatoon, registering four goals and 47 assists for 51 points, along with 247 penalty minutes.
In 2007-08, Klassen established career-highs in assists (24), points (25) and penalty minutes (103). He also had a stretch of seven assists in eight games from November 13 against Brandon to November 30 at Lethbridge, and recorded a career-high, four-game assist streak (six assists) from February 20 vs. Prince Albert to February 26 against Lethbridge during the 2007-08 season.
Klassen made his WHL debut with Saskatoon on December 16, 2006 against Swift Current, and collected his first WHL point with an assist on the game-winning goal in the final minutes of regulation on December 30, 2006 vs. Regina. Prior to joining Saskatoon during the 2006-07 season, Klassen recorded 11 points (two goals and nine assists) and 74 penalty minutes in 32 games with the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)