This post will be updated.
If Cornell men’s hockey gets to play this upcoming season, it will be without its best player from a championship-caliber 2019-20 team — Morgan Barron ’21 is officially a New York Ranger.
Barron signed a contract with the NHL’s New York Rangers, the team announced Friday, after spending a junior season surrounded by questions about whether he’d return to school or turn pro a year early. After the coronavirus pandemic cut short his junior season right before the playoffs, the Cornell men’s hockey captain will forego his senior season. His entry-level deal with the Rangers begins at the start of the 2020-21 season.
Welcome to the future.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 31, 2020
The Rangers selected the Halifax, Nova Scotia native in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Draft.
Barron, who was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award last season, scored 32 points in 29 games as a junior. Barron was a first team All-American at Cornell, where he tallied 84 points in 98 games over three seasons. The 21 year-old, 6-foot-4 forward led the Red in both goals and points in his final two seasons in Ithaca.
“Morgan is one of most well-rounded players I have had the pleasure to coach,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer ’86 said in a Cornell Athletics release. “He is a skilled, physical, competitive and consistent leader. He really has no weakness in his game or approach. Our staff, players [and] fans wish him all the best.”
Barron helped lead his team to a No. 1 national ranking and top overall seed in the ECAC playoffs at the end of the 2019-20 season, before COVID-19 quickly brought down the team’s hopes for a championship. In April, Schafer said Barron hadn’t yet reached a decision, and Barron repeatedly said that the chance to win a national title weighed heavily on his decision.
The Ivy League announced July 8 that no athletic competition would take place during the fall semester. The American Hockey League, the NHL’s primary developmental league, is targeting a Dec. 4 start date for the 2020-21 season. Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun Friday that the league is looking at a Dec. 1 start date.
If the 2020-21 college hockey season can happen in some form, Cornell will return many key pieces from a team that was among the favorites to win the national championship last season. Goaltender Matt Galajda, first-line forwards Cam Donaldson and Brenden Locke and NHL prospect defenseman Alex Green are all entering their senior years. According to the Ivy League’s fall semester plans, Cornell could take the ice for games in late December at the earliest — there won’t be any competition during the fall semester.