We know Ryan McDonagh is back in the US and we know Carl Hagelin has terminated his deal with his hometown team back in Sweden. We also know Rick Nash has had his own injury issues despite scoring at an impressive rate in Switzerland. It goes without saying that the NHL is the best league in the world when they’re actually playing hockey. So why then are so many Rangers players struggling to adapt to playing in inferior leagues with inferior players?
Rick Nash aside, and perhaps Hagelin – although in Sweden’s second tier, don’t forget – no Ranger has exactly set the world alight in Europe thus far. In one way it’s hard to be overly critical. After all with little practice time, familiarisation to their clubs, their leagues’ playing style and teammates and a lack of long term perspective (given the short term deals struck with clubs) there isn’t a great basis for success for players heading to Europe.
Again, to be fair it’s not just Rangers players that have failed to make a significant impact. For example Ilya Bryzgalov hasn’t exactly got his game back on track in the KHL, Evander Kane suffered a torrid time in Russia while Max Paciorettey had a miserable time in Europe and came back at the first opportunity following a somewhat bitter divorce with his Euro employers.
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First, I hope that everyone who reads this blog and all of your families are safe. Hurricane Sandy did a number on the tri-state area, and it was by far the worst storm we have ever encountered. I had a close call myself, as a tree that is (was) three feet from my bedroom window snapped, and the top half came crashing down, missing my apartment by about five feet. There was also another tree that was leaning, but did not go down. Both trees have been removed thankfully.
Now back to some semblance of Ranger hockey: Carl Hagelin had a bit of a scare last night, as he took a hit to the shoulder and was removed from the game. It was a precautionary move, but like Rick Nash before him, his shoulder injury is day-to-day.
Additionally, MSG is planning on airing more KHL games on the MSG network as the lockout continues. There will be a total of eight games aired on MSG throughout the month of November:
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Amid the brief optimism and subsequent let down of the lockout negotiations (aka ‘far apart’) Rangers prospects have been getting it done and, which has been the case all season long, the Swedish contingent are shining bright.
Jesper Fasth continued his strong start to the SEL season and now has 9 points in 14 games for HV71. Fast grabbed two goals on Wednesday as HV71 beat Färjestad 4-3. The most encouraging thing in regard to Fasth is the fact he’s producing on the powerplay (2 of his 6 goals so far) and is seeing considerable ice time at close to 20 minutes/game.
Clearly, Fasth is becoming a go-to option for his club which should stand him in good stead long term. With Oscar Lindberg still scoring at a point/game clip (now 14 in 14) come next season there will likely be another two Swedes making a serious case for inclusion on the Rangers roster.
So how does this affect the roster, aside from player turnover?
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Last night, Ryan McDonagh made his KHL debut for Barys Astana, notching some significant ice time and finishing the 5-1 victory with a +1 rating. Some names that you might notice that are playing with McDonagh on Barys: Nik Antropov, Brandon Bochenski, Dustin Boyes, Nigel Dawes, Victor Hedman, and Andrew Hutchinson. Not exactly a lineup lacking in NHL and/or North American players.
Carl Hagelin also continued his great play in Allsvenskan, notching a goal and an assist in Södertälje SK 5-1 win. That update comes courtesy of Bill Meltzer, who has been doing a great job of tweeting updates from all around Europe and Russia. Definitely give him a follow, as he gives updates on leagues, like Hagelin’s Allsvenskan, that we find it difficult to locate game stats.
Carl Hagelin is off to a good start in the second-tier Swedish league HockeyAllsvenskan, as he finished his first game with his hometown Södertälje SK with two assists. This update comes courtesy of Matias Strozyk, who was tweeting updates throughout the game. Considering how difficult it is to find updates of the second-tier leagues in Sweden, finding Matias’ Twitter account was a bit of a savior.
Also, Rick Nash returned tonight for HC Davos in the Swiss NLA. Nash, who sat out for a week with a bruised shoulder, scored the tying goal in Davos’ 3-2 overtime win over Henrik Zetterberg’s EV Zug. When Nash is in the lineup, Davos wins. When he isn’t, they lose. Interesting phenomenon.
Carl Hagelin returning to Sweden to play with his hometown team helps him stay in hockey shape.
Carl Hagelin signing in his hometown for Södertälje SK of HockeyAllsvenskan (second tier league) is some of the best news to have happened in recent weeks for the Rangers. With the end of the lockout not to be seen on the NHL horizon the key thing for the Rangers future right now is likely to be the development of the prospects as well as the younger roster players at the NHL level. With Chris Kreider learning the pro game with the CT Whale in the AHL, perhaps the next brightest young thing on the Rangers roster is Hagelin.
While the SEL – and particularly the second tier where Södertälje currently reside –is not of the calibre of the NHL it does offer Hagelin several opportunities to improve his game. The first opportunity is the added ice time and games at the pro level. While Hagelin has made an excellent, immediate impact with the Rangers he is still a young player who has little pro experience and given the length of a NCAA college season, Hagelin can still benefit from as much game time as possible.
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The lockout is now real and some New York Rangers have begun to make commitments to other teams for the 2012 season.
Already Rick Nash has inked a deal with HC Davos to reunite with Ranger hater Joe Thornton, where they both played in the last lockout.
The Fourth Period also reports that Carl Hagelin is in talks with Sodertalje SK of the Swedish Div II League.
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Are we really still in August? Hands up who thinks the season starts on time. Anyone? No one? Ok, let’s just muse a little.
I read this about the CBA discussions on Wednesday: “The league’s Tuesday proposal didn’t address team revenue sharing”. I can’t imagine which owners must be the drivers behind this area; *cough* Ed Snider *cough*…
A reason for optimism regarding the Rangers future is the recent, sustained ability to find unwanted players around the league and make them useful roster parts. No one will miss John Mitchell or Steve Eminger and certainly no one will miss Erik Christensen going forward. Perhaps no one will notice next season when Stu Bickel mows through the press box buffet offerings but the Rangers continue to find players for almost little cost that contribute to the team. It’s not always about high draft picks or spectacular trades it’s about the hidden gems and unheralded players a team uncovers. Ask Dan Girardi.
Paging Michael Del Zotto…..
Just a thought: Is there a direct highway/passage/tunnel from Wisconsin University to Madison Square Garden?
If Carl Hagelin manages to work his way on to the top six next season is it because he’s stepped up in the face of the competition or because someone has underperformed? There appears to be brutal competition for elusive top six ice time, but I’m an optimist – if he gets legitimate ice time with the big boys it’s because he’s earned it.
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Although the Rangers are likely to benefit from a lockout –due to the injury to Marian Gaborik– there is still a solid chance that when the season starts, the club will still be without their top scorer from last season. Gaborik, who had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in June, is said to be out five or six months recovering from the surgery.
The acquisition of Rick Nash actually gives the Rangers tremendous flexibility when dealing with this injury. Nash is a rare forward that can play both wings, and play them at a high level. This gives the Rangers the ability to fill the spot opened up by Gaborik’s injury on either the left side or the right side.
The players that are likely to play on the top six –alongside Nash, Brad Richards, and Derek Stepan– are the ones you would expect: Carl Hagelin, Ryan Callahan, and Chris Kreider. All three played on the top two lines in the playoffs, and are either decent offensive threats (Cally), or players with some great offensive potential (Kreider, Hagelin).
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No doubt about it, the Rangers have had some serious roster turnover this season, especially among the bottom six forwards. Gone are Brandon Prust, John Mitchell, Ruslan Fedotenko, Artem Anisimov, and Brandon Dubinsky. In are Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt, Jeff Halpern, and possibly Michael Haley (at least to start the season while Marian Gaborik is out). While the Rangers will surely miss most of the departed, where they will miss them the most is on the penalty kill.
Fedotenko, Prust, and Dubinsky were all top penalty killers for this club last season, with Anisimov and Mitchell seeing some time there as well. Of those coming in, only Halpern has experience as a top penalty killer. Asham and Pyatt have played there in the past, but not much (if at all) last season. This leaves a hole that needs to be filled, and needs to be filled from those already on the roster.
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