NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers announced on Wednesday the signing of highly sought free agent Andres Ambühl, a 25-year-old forward who starred this past season for Swiss champions HC Davos.
Ambühl, an object of reported interest all year from Edmonton, Toronto, Chicago, Montreal and other NHL clubs, scored a pivotal goal in the Swiss NLA final on April 9 when he broke a 2-2 tie with eight minutes left in Game 5, giving Davos a 3-games-to-2 lead en route to a seven-game victory.
Ambühl, always one of the most reliable players on the Swiss national team and a virtual shoe-in for the Swiss Olympic team for Vancouver 2010, had two goals and one assist in six games at the 2009 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland.
Ambühl played nine seasons in the NLA, all for HC Davos, winning three Swiss championships with the storied club. In 358 career NLA games he scored 64 goals and 108 assists for 172 points, along with 425 penalty minutes. In 112 playoff matches he went 19+14=33 with a hefty 112 PiM. Last season he tied for the team scoring lead at 17+24=41 in 50 games with 90 PiM.
Ambühl, rugged for a 5-10 (176 cm), 198-pounder (85kg), has played 43 times for Switzerland in Olympic and World Championship competition. He stands 7+6=13 with 38 PiM for his country at the senior level.
If Ambühl manages to stick with the Rangers he will become the first Swiss forward for quite some time to secure a roster spot with an NHL team. Last season, three goaltenders and three defensemen, made up the Swiss six-man contingent in the NHL.
-- with files from the New York Times Slapshot blog
Europeans who have signed NHL contracts for next season
Philip Larsen, D, (DEN-89) – Frolunda (SWE) – Dallas
Erik Karlsson, D, (SWE-90) – Frolunda (SWE) – Ottawa
Anton Gustafsson, F, (SWE-90) – Frolunda (SWE) – Washington
Johan Motin, D, (SWE-89) – Farjestad (SWE) – Edmonton
Ilkka Heikkinen, D, (FIN-84) – HIFK Helsinki (FIN) – NY Rangers
Mikael Johansson, F, (SWE-85) – Farjestad (SWE) – Montreal
Andres Ambühl, F, (SWE-83) – HC Davos (SUI) – NY Rangers
NOTE: Some of the players may, for maturing purposes, remain with their European club for the 2009-10.