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Rangers Trade Ethan Werek to Coyotes for Oscar Lindberg

Trading in May? That’s like snow in July! But yes, the Rangers have sent prospect Ethan Werek to the Phoenix Coyotes in return for center Oscar Lindberg. With all of the prospects whose rights were going to expire being signed, Ethan Werek was the elephant in the room, so to speak. The Rangers were high on him when they selected him in the second round two years ago, so the fact that they were quiet about the situation with him certainly made it clear something was up. Let’s look at why the Rangers moved Werek and what we’re getting in Lindberg:

Ethan Werek-

Werek drew comparisons to Adam Graves stylistically, and many viewed him as a potentially great third line center or solid second liner. After a great 2009-2010 season with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, getting 63 points in 57 games, there were high hopes for Werek going into this season. However, his season was pretty crazy and for all the wrong reasons. Werek bulked up and supposedly the Rangers were worried that it would affect him, specifically his speed. Werek experienced multiple injuries, including a ligament tear in his wrist that he initially tried to play through and avoid surgery on. At the end of the season, he was suspended five games for a clear-cut headshot. If you look at Werek’s OHL career as a whole, he did pretty well all things considered. Even this year, with all the drama and setbacks, he ended up with 24 goals and 52 points in 47 games. However, the Rangers couldn’t care less about that. Glen Sather and the scouting staff are trying to find guys who will succeed in the NHL, and it’s clear that the Rangers weren’t confident that he could make it to the NHL with the Rangers. It’s pretty easy to see that they don’t think he’d be worth the headache.

Oscar Lindberg-

19 year old Oscar Lindberg was a second round pick by Phoenix in the last draft, and he seems to be a “safe” prospect. That is, the ceiling isn’t incredibly high but he has a good chance of making the NHL in some capacity. Lindberg led the SEL, probably the 2nd best hockey league in the world, in faceoff’s with a 69(!)% win percentage. Here is eliteprospects.com ‘s profile of Lindberg:

A very smart two-way center. Takes care of his defensive responsibilities, but also contributes offensively with good speed, technical skills and playmaking ability. Not an overly physical player, but he gets involved. Pretty good shot, but not a natural scorer. A team player who is good at face-offs.

Sounds a lot like Samuel Pahlsson, nationality included. It’s also worth noting that Lindberg is related to former Ranger Jan Erixon, who played a similar style. Lindberg had 14 points in 41 games this year, and while that seems pretty bad at face value, the SEL is not a high scoring league and is specifically tough on young guys. Mattias Tedenby never eclipsed 19 points in three years in the SEL. Marcus Johansson’s high was 20. Not that Lindberg will be as good offensively as either of those guys are, but it proves the point that stats don’t tell us very much.

Ethan Werek is the more talented player in the deal, make no mistake. But it takes more than talent to succeed in the NHL. The Rangers are staying away from the Pavel Brendl’s now and adding more of the Derek Stepan’s. Attitude, demeanor, and work ethic is foremost in the minds of the NYR brass, and it’s evident that the Rangers weren’t liking what was going on with Werek. The Rangers had to sign Werek by June 1st or else the Rangers would have lost his rights and he would have ended up back in the Entry Draft. Lindberg doesn’t have to be signed until next year. Good on Sather to get a very solid prospect for a guy whom they clearly had no intentions of keeping. That is great asset management.

Tags: Coyotes Ethan Werek New York Rangers Oscar Lindberg Phoenix Coyotes Rangers

  • Axel

    I don’t have a great deal of knowledge of Werek. Being Swedish I’m more familiar with Lindberg, and I think the fact that he has already established him in a pro-league (though I wouldn’t agree that the SEL is the 2nd best league in the world, more like 3rd or 4th after KHL and maybe the Swiss/Dutch league which are making great strides, any way) is a big factor.

    As you say, Lindberg is probably the safer bet of playing in the NHL. And points in the SEL doesn’t necessarily translate to the NHL because of the rink size etc, look at Marcus Krüger. Yes, he just got over to the Blackhawks but I dont expect him to put up the same numbers in the NHL as he did in Sweden.

    The game is a lot slower and you have A LOT more time to make decisions. On the other hand, you play against men, many who have played NHL/AHL hockey so, it will be interesting to see what the Rangers can pull out of Lindberg.

    But my initial response is that I like this trade!

  • http://www.jameswrabel.weebly.com James Wrabel

    I think we found our Swedish corespondent for future Rangers news in Sweden! That’s a pretty good profile on Oscar Lindberg.

  • Chickey

    I can only say that this profile on Lindberg as a primarily defensive prospect doesn´t quite add up. Lindberg in my view is if not better offensively than both johansson and tedenby, at least as good. Lindberg has got a fantastic offensive sense, and we would be glad if we can keep him herre in Sweden for a couple of more seasons. I can pretty much guarantee that with a little more icetime and pp-time, he will easily come up with points in the high thirties in the swedish leauge next season. i´ve seen hom in 70 games this season and i rank him in the same leauge as his buddy prospects Adam Larsson, tim erixon and david rundblad. Yeah i know there defensemen and they have much better stats. but they have got one more season in the senior leauge. Mark my words, Lindberg is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

  • Adam Herman

    Chickey, considering I haven’t seen as much as a single shift from Oscar Lindberg, everything I wrote is based on information I gathered from research. It seems to me he definitely does have some offensive talent, and I hope he can bring that to the NHL. I have an incredibly hard time believing that he’s on same level as Larsson, Erixon, and Rundblad. Why would Phoenix give that kind of talent up for a guy whom the Rangers were more or less dying to get rid of?

    I hope you’re right, but I don’t see it. I’m not going to say you’re completely out of your mind, though. It wouldn’t be the first time a Swedish prospect surprised everyone.

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