I’m going to say prior to his suspension a lot of hockey fans probably didn’t know who Carl Hagelin was. It almost came to a shock to some people who didn’t know who he was that he was playing first line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. Now that Hagelin’s gone due to suspension, Gaborik and Richards have been split up and have been struggling at even strength. Coincidence? I think not.
Hagelin is a great forechecker, and that allows Gaborik and Richards do what they do best, which is find open space and shoot. Richards and Gaborik were split up because Tortorella couldn’t find a replica of Hagelin to put on that line. Tortorella tried different combinations but none worked.
What does this mean for the Rangers? While Hagelin is serving the last game of his suspension Sunday night, the Rangers will have to get offensive production from those who are slacking. Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky need to bring their A game for game 5 of the series. There will be a game 6 and Hagelin will play, but the Rangers would like to avoid possibly being eliminated in game 6 of the series.