While Alain Vigneault, his staff, and players were preparing themselves to face the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night in Game One of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Rangers front office went about looking to take care of the future of the organization on Tuesday, agreeing to terms with free agent defenseman Mat Bodie.
The 24 year-old Bodie just capped off a solid collegiate career as captain of the NCAA Champion Union College hockey team, helping his school secure its first national championship this past week--ironically in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center.
"We have been tracking his development for four years," explained Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton on Tuesday afternoon. "He's a real character kid who we think adds a hard to find element to our defensive depth going forward. Being captain of a championship team just adds to what he is as a player."
A solid and skilled defenseman, Bodie is a two-time All ECAC Hockey First Team selection (2011-12 and 2013-14). He led the nation in scoring by a defenseman this past season, totaling a career-high 39 points (8-31-39) in 40 games. His previous career-high of 32 points established a Union College record for most points by a Freshman defenseman in 2010-11.
"We really like his skating and his ability to manufacture offense," Gorton said of Bodie, who captained Union each of the past two seasons. "He is very poised with the puck. He's a guy we have liked for some time because of his skill and character."
In 154 career collegiate games, Bodie totaled 124 points (28-96-124) and 143 penalty minutes.