The New York Rangers Can’t Afford to Lose Carl Hagelin


With a system built on speed, the New York Rangers need solid skaters. And when you have Carl Hagelin, why would you want to lose a player that can fly?

Carl Hagelin has done a lot for the New York Rangers in his four years here. The Swedish native has proven to be a reliable 30-point forward (save for the lockout year, of course), tallying 17 goals and 35 points this year, 2 points higher than last season.

His consistency has even improved. This season he went 7 games tops without a point whereas last year he was stuck in a 7-game points drought twice.

Additionally, the 5’11” 186 pound forward has made leaps and bounds in his level of play. Hagelin recorded a plus/minus rating of +8 last year, and is now an outstanding +20.

New York Rangers
New York Rangers /

New York Rangers

But the 26-year-old’s list of accomplishments doesn’t end there.

As one of the fastest hockey players in the league, Hagelin’s speed has helped generate numerous opportunities on the forecheck as he is second amongst Rangers in shots. It has also helped him in regaining possession of the puck as he is third amongst Rangers in takeaways.

Perhaps it’s a Swedish thing, or extra hours in the gym building strength, or maybe he just likes feeling the wind through his flow, but whatever allows Hags to fly on his skates is something special. And it’s definitely a big reason why he is in New York and why he should stay in New York as long as head coach Alain Vigneault is in town.

The head coach’s system takes advantage of speed in order to recover the puck quickly, keep possession and wear down the competition. You can watch any successful Rangers game and clearly see that system at work. Even when the Rangers are winning by a landslide before first intermission, Vigneault will urge the team to hustle on every shift.

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And when the Rangers look slow, they almost always get outworked by the other team. After games like that, they’re looking to find their legs again in the next contest, and that often means regaining the speed and power that makes them so dangerous.

With that said, why would Vigneault want to lose someone as reliable and fast as Hagelin? There’s only one possible good reason: limited cap space.

Right now the Rangers have approximately $200,000 in cap space and Hagelin will be a restricted free agent after the postseason, his current contract worth $2.25 million per year. There are also other RFA after this season including Derek Stepan, Jesper Fast and J.T. Miller. Then there are the unrestricted free agents like Martin St. Louis and Matt Hunwick. Even if the cap rises by $10 million, there still won’t be enough room to keep everyone on the current roster, so someone has to go.

But if the Rangers lose Hagelin, they’ll lose a part of their competitive edge as well and that is definitely not something they can afford if they want to be successful in the next regular season.

Next: Cam Talbot Receives the Much-Deserved Steven McDonald Award

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