Jake Taylor signs contract with New York Rangers

Gopher defenseman to skip final three years of college to take a shot at the NHL. Gophers coach Don Lucia disappointed with decision.

Minnesota defenseman Jake Taylor (Byron, Minn./Rochester Lourdes HS) has decided to forgo his remaining three years of eligibility and has signed a professional contract with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Taylor becomes the second Minnesota defenseman with remaining eligibility to sign a professional contract this summer after Keith Ballard signed with the Phoenix Coyotes in early June.

"We're disappointed that Jake has decided to move on to professional hockey," Golden Gopher head coach Don Lucia said. "Jake was a tremendous competitor and a first-class young man. Although I don¹t agree with his decision, I wish him nothing but the best. Jake will always be a member of the Gopher hockey family."

Taylor, a 6-4, 220-pound defenseman, had two goals and six assists in 39 games for the Golden Gophers in 2003-04, his lone season with the Maroon and Gold. He was second on the team in penalties with 34 and third in penalty minutes with 68.

Taylor was drafted by the Rangers in the sixth round (177th overall pick) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

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