With news of a long recovery ahead for New York Rangers forward Jesper Fast after surgery, Las Vegas’ expansion draft plans may have shifted.
It’s unknown how Jesper Fast would feel if the Las Vegas Golden Knights were to remove him from the New York Rangers’ roster, but we almost certainly won’t find out now.
Obviously, you hate to see a player get hurt, especially one on your own team. With that said, though, this may be the best thing that could’ve happened for the marriage of the Rangers and Fast.
(Future) Expansion Outcome
Many analysts and fans have been speculating that Las Vegas’ general manager George McPhee might take Fast in the expansion draft. After the season he had, especially in the postseason, you could see why.
With the injury news, while Vegas could still end up selecting the veteran of three full NHL seasons, McPhee more than likely will stay away from damaged goods and go after one of the Rangers other more-then-worthy expansion candidates.
Even if Fast was healthy, he may not have been the most likely candidate to be selected. As we stand, Michael Grabner will be left unprotected in the draft. Grabner, who skates like he was shot out of a cannon, scored 27 goals over the course of 16-17 and is most likely to go. Not only does this news not change that, but it almost reinforces it.
If the Rangers make a move to unload one of their top seven forwards that they would end up protecting, expect Grabner to be protected and Oscar Lindberg to jump up to the projected selection slot.
Not so Fast
Speaking of Lindberg, he had a very similar, while not exactly the same, surgery as Fast had last off-season. The surgery, which he underwent in May, kept him out of the lineup until the end of October. It is worth noting that Lindberg returned ahead of schedule. It’s also worth noting that his ETA was six months to Fast’s five.
Fast will miss all of training camp and most, if not all, of October. And just like it was the case with Lindberg, even when he comes back, he won’t be himself. It took Lindberg a while to get his legs back under him and get back to game speed. Fast will go through the same adjustment period.
There is a strong possibility that the Rangers were planning on a training camp and October without Fast anyway. Luckily for them, he’ll be back after those two months now, and not just as a visitor with Las Vegas.