New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has signed free agent forward Justin Fontaine on a two-way contract and has assigned Fontaine to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Fontaine, 28, has skated in 197 career NHL games over three seasons (2013-14 – 2015-16), all with Minnesota, registering 27 goals and 41 assists for 68 points, along with a plus-22 rating and 58 penalty minutes. He has posted a plus/minus rating of even or better in each of his three NHL seasons, including a plus-13 rating during the 2014-15 season. Throughout his career, 25 of his 41 assists have been primary assists. Among skaters who played in at least 100 games with the Wild over the last three seasons, Fontaine ranked sixth in assists per 60 minutes of ice time (1.04) and ranked seventh in points per 60 minutes of ice time (1.72). In addition, Fontaine helped Minnesota advance to the playoffs in each of his three seasons with the team, and he has recorded four points (two goals, two assists) in 19 career NHL playoff games.
The 5-10, 174-pounder skated in 60 games with Minnesota in 2015-16, registering five goals and 11 assists for 16 points, along with a plus-three rating and 20 penalty minutes. Fontaine ranked fifth among Wild forwards in plus/minus rating last season. Minnesota earned at least one point in 13 of the 16 games in which Fontaine tallied a point last season (10-3-3 record).
Prior to making his NHL debut, Fontaine played two seasons (2011-12 and 2012-13) with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL), recording 111 points (39 goals, 72 assists) in 137 games. He averaged 0.81 points per game over his two seasons in the AHL, and he registered at least 30 assists and 50 points in each season.
Fontaine played four seasons of collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (2007-08 – 2010-11), tallying 164 points (62 goals, 102 assists) in 159 games. In his final season of collegiate hockey, Fontaine recorded 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points in 42 games and helped Minnesota-Duluth win the National Championship for the first time in the school’s history.
The Bonnyville, Alberta, native was signed by Minnesota as an undrafted free agent on April 19, 2011.