In the sixth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers selected Carl Hagelin, a small, young forward from Sweden. After spending four years at the University of Michigan and two years with the Connecticut Whale, Hagelin joined the Rangers in November of 2012, registering a point in his first NHL game. With his speed and offensive potential, things were looking up for Hagelin. However, these past two years, he hasn’t been the player the Rangers have wanted him to be. Yes, he has had his times to shine, but to really grab everyone’s attention, he needs to take his game to the next level.
In his rookie year, Hagelin finished the season with 14 goals and 24 assists. That’s a pretty good showing for a kid who only played 64 games. Fast forward to this past season, and Hagelin had to sit out the first ten games to recover from shoulder surgery. When he came back, it took him a while to get going.
Hagelin finished the season with 17 goals and 16 assists, finishing with fewer points than his rookie year. While his play did pick up in the playoffs, he needs to be better. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, especially against the Montreal Canadiens, Hagelin took apart the Canadiens defense with his blazing speed. A player who can skate right by defense men should be able to score more than 33 points.
Hopefully Hagelin can show everyone why he deserves to be on this team. He can be one of the Rangers’ most effective players if Vigneault continues to use him the right way. During the regular season and playoffs, Hagelin and Brian Boyle were dynamic on the penalty kill, which disrupted opposing teams’ momentum and helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Finals. However, with Boyle leaving to sign in Tampa Bay, it looks like Dominic Moore will be joining Hagelin on the first penalty kill unit, and I don’t think fans will have a problem with that. With the combined speed of those two, it will give opposing blue lines fits.
If Hagelin uses his speed and offensive touch the way we know he can, then he will continue to get better and may even get a nice pay raise for his next contract. With his potential, Hagelin could play on a line with Marty St. Louis and Derick Brassard, if Vigneault gives him the chance. If he receives that chance, he must make the most of his opportunity. If he succeeds, then he should see a nice pay increase in his next contract.