new york rangers
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The young defenseman appears to be on track to make his NHL debut next season.

On Thursday afternoon, the New York Rangers signed RHD Nils Lundkvist to his three-year ELC.

The 20-year-old is the organization’s top prospect and won the Salming Trophy this season, given to the best Swedish-born defenseman in the SHL. With Luleå, Lundkvist has posted back-to-back 30+ point seasons.

He’s projected to be a top-four defenseman capable of playing high-end defense while also scoring.

The Rangers have made it clear that Lundkvist is part of the team’s plan next season and this move is confirmation of those plans unless he is traded.

There has been discussion of the Rangers trading for a big-name player such as Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres and Lundkivst could be used as a trade chip in such a scenario.

However, the Rangers would likely prefer to hold on to him and if he does remain with the team, he’ll be projected to slot in as their number three RHD behind Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba, respectively, at least to begin the season.

The Rangers have a plethora of defensive prospects with very high ceilings and Lundkvist is the leader of the pack.

If the Rangers can hold on to him in the long run and if he does meet expectations, the blueline will be in great shape for years to come.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.