TWO MINUTES for BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1Great move by the Rangers today to sign Connecticut Whale defenseman Blake Parlett to a NHL contract.

The free agent was another player that I talked to Rangers assistant GM/assistant coach/Whale GM Jim Schoenfeld about signing. First, he picked up the option on defenseman and alternate captain Jared Nightingale, who is a longshot for the NHL but a tremendous asset on and off the ice in Hartford. Now the Rangers sign the 22-year-old Parlett, who was a terrific addition after being called up from Greenville of the ECHL on Feb. 17. He paired well with Pavel Valentenko, who has a few years experience in North America, as Parlett has some good puck-rushing ability and offensive finish while his Russian partner possesses a big shot and likes to land big checks.

Parlett arrived in Hartford as the ECHL’s top-scoring defenseman (seven goals, 25 assists in 46 games), and he quickly showed why with a terrific tip for a game-winning overtime goal at Springfield on March 5. He tied for third among Whale defensemen in assists (10) despite playing in only 24 games and tied for fourth among AHL blueliners with two game-winning goals, the only ones he scored. Parlett also scored in his AHL playoff debut at Portland on April 14 in Game 1 of the Whale’s first-round matchup against the Pirates.

The 6-foot-1, 205 pound Parlett was an ECHL All-Star and was plus-4 in the game Jan. 26. He had a goal and seven assists in his last five games with Greenville before being called up. His promotion and success with the Whale was reminiscent of what Dan Girardi did several years ago, capped by also earning a NHL contract after joining the organization as a free agent. If Parlett even approaches what Girardi has accomplished the last few years, the Rangers will have added another quite worthwhile asset.

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