Quick Swedish development would aid the Rangers

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

With this summer’s free agent market perhaps the weakest in recent memory, and with the Rangers having multiple holes to fill, nothing would please the organization more than a prospect (or two) stepping up and forcing their way onto the 2013-14 roster. With the Rangers needing more of everything – scoring, depth, size, physical presence, face off ability, special teams upgrades – there are plenty of prospects close to making the jump.

The problem for the Rangers is timing. They already have a slew of bottom six forwards who could be moved, and should they spend cap dollars on forwards in the offseason they are, to an extent, committed to inserting the new recruits into the line up regardless of how the rookies play pre-season. That said, players such as Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg and the usual suspects – Chris Kreider and JT Miller – are surely close to securing roster spots. Let’s consider the merits of the Swedish pair who so many Rangers fans are eagerly awaiting.

Jesper Fast

As sneak peaks go, the Rangers got the smallest of glimpses into what Fast brings when he played a solitary game in the AHL this past season. After finishing a strong season over in the SEL, Fast came over to the AHL and –prior to injury– played one game, scored a pretty goal, and was named the games’ third star. Fast’s addition would add more skating ability to the Rangers, and would give them added scoring ability. Where Fast starts and how he’s used will depend enormously on the new Rangers coach.

It likely goes against the European rookie’s chances that a new coach will come in and probably be unfamiliar with the prospects in the system. Fast’s position is likely also linked to that of Ryane Clowe’s, Mats Zuccarello’s, and fellow prospects such as Kreider and Miller. If Clowe and Zuccarello are kept (and ideally both will) then Fast will surely start the year in Connecticut.

Oscar Lindberg

Lindberg’s chances of an immediate NHL start are better than Fast’s. First of all, Derek Stepan aside, over the past few seasons the Rangers have been underwhelming at center. Brad Richards is a legitimate buy-out candidate, Brian Boyle isn’t certain of his spot in the line-up or position on the ice (wing is an option for the big Boston native), and while the Rangers have Derick brassard causing all sorts of positive vibes, he too is yet to have a training camp with the Rangers. What this all amounts to is that beyond Stepan, the Rangers center position is in an absolute state of flux.

Despite the absence of any North American experience, Lindberg has a reasonable chance at jumping ahead of the likes of JT Miller to start in New York. Coming off a sensational SEL campaign, Lindberg has dominated in a strong international men’s league. The level of competition faced is greater than that of the NCAA or CHL level.

Lindberg helps address the face-off issues, is known as a strong two way player who can help the penalty kill, and he’s proven he can step up (in spectacular style) at playoff time. Lindberg should, unlike the North American prospects, come to training camp sure of himself and with an untainted reputation. Many people will look at Lindberg and assume he’s destined to begin next season in the AHL. He may well do so, but with a strong camp Lindberg may be a surprise starter in New York next season.

21 Responses to “Quick Swedish development would aid the Rangers”

  1. MBN says:

    I think JT Miler gets a full shot to be the #3 center next season in camp. It is likely that whomever the coach is, he will rely heavily on some of the current guys in CT for imput regarding the kids, and I think a guy like Miller will get solid reviews.

  2. Steve says:

    hrivik!!

  3. george says:

    I see Miller, Kreider and Lindberg gets a full NHL season. No need to lose a 2nd for a player who had 3 concessions then past season. Kreider could be a 2nd line player. He showed that in the Playoffs.

  4. Seahorse says:

    turn the youngsters loose. live with the defensive miscues while letting them show their talent

    • @NYRFan_RF says:

      The problem with that is the expectations. Not every breakdown in the Defensive Zone leads to a goal but with expectations as high as they are, it only takes one to lose a game. Man it would be great if Lindburg and Miller make the team out of camp maybe one as a winger. Nothing would make me happier. Especially if Lindburg has the offensive upside people say he does. We already know Miller plays a solid 2 way game as a winger. Can play Center but more defensive responsibility.

  5. Walt says:

    Step-Brass-Miller-Lindberg at the center positions.

    Miller is a kid who is driven, and will bust his gut to get on the roster.

    Lindberg is the idel 4th line center. He plays a solid two way game, could be used on the PK, and has soft hands. He also gives us good speed, and skill, something lacking currently on the 4th line.

    Boyle should be moved over to the 3rd, or 4th line as a wing, who does the muck work in the corners, and still take face-offs when needed, and be on the PK.

    I don’t see Fasth as a player for us next year, will be a Wolf Pack for at least one year. His name is Fasth, and the Whale is changing their name back to the Pack.

    I like the idea of a younger group of kids playing for us, they will be hungry, driven, and have a point to make. The old retreads, vets, seem to go through the motions, don’t have the same drive, and usually are over paid.

    All we need is a tough guy, not Clowe who now has a history of concussions, but a Bickel, or Clarkson to complete the roster for the cup run!!!

    • Chris says:

      Walt I love your enthusiasm, but I highly doubt the Rangers go into a season with a new coach, with still high expectancy, with two rookies at center. Just dont see it. I would though! ha

    • RyanK says:

      Does Lindberg bring enough of a physical edge to be considered a 4th line center though? I’m not familiar with his style of play, so I can’t judge whether or not he does.

      The Rangers are better off re-upping Clowe than bringing in Bickell or Clarkson. Both of those guys are going to be looking for more money than they’re actually worth this upcoming season, and hopefully Sather isn’t the GM that gives it to them.

      Also, not playing semantics here, but Fast officially dropped the H from his last name a few months ago.

      • RyanK says:

        EDIT – about Lindberg, I’m pretty much asking if he wouldn’t be better suited to the 3rd line, with Boyle getting placed at 4c.

    • Seahorse says:

      bickel has 9 playoff goals, every team in the league is gonna want him

    • @NYRFan_RF says:

      Do you think you’re the only person that knows about the Rangers AHL team? Or even Fasth for that matter? That’s all common knowledge. When was Boyle on anything but the 3rd or 4th line. He’s not moving anywhere. If anything he may be moving on with the youngsters coming this year. 1.7mil is a bit much for a 4th liner. What about the Vets in Boston? They seem pretty dedicated to me. Most of what you said is your opinion but I doubt any of these professionals would agree with most of it. Lindburg might make a solid 4th Pivot but where is the size coming from? What happens if we run into the Bruins in the playoffs? Their 3rd & 4th lines pushed us around. So did their top 2 but you need a few big men on bottom 6. Clowe may come pretty cheap and that 2nd goes to SJ if the Rangers make the ECF without signing Clowe.

  6. Randy says:

    I think that the Rangers should try and get at least one of the Swedes into the lineup for a good portion of the season. Sweden seems to breed a very high quality, professional crop of NHL players (see Red Wings, Hank). I do not have a good idea of what kind of things Lindberg can do, but I am hoping he is similar to Henrik Zetterberg in his style of play. I think Miller gets the nod at the beginning of the season, and he is definitely a strong enough player to hold on to his spot, but I would be disappointed if we don’t get a chance to see what the Swedes can do. It is too bad that both Miller and Lindberg play center because they are both strong candidates for the 3C, but maybe try one of them out on the wing so both kids get a look. Not sure if it would be smart to put a playmaking rookie centering our fourth line.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      “It is too bad that both Miller and Lindberg play center because they are both strong candidates for the 3C, but maybe try one of them out on the wing so both kids get a look.”

      – This is a good problem as the Rangers need all the depth they can get at center. Make them compete in camp and force the Ranger’s hand if they both play well enough to start. As unlikely as that is, the competition will only bring out the best in each player. Most likely, one will have to start in CT. For the record Miller did play wing the majority of his time with the Rangers this past season, but I’d prefer to see him make it as a center.

      “Not sure if it would be smart to put a playmaking rookie centering our fourth line.”
      – Agreed. Let Boyle handle the 4th line center position.

      • Walt says:

        If Miller, and Lindberg could both make the team, then move Miller to wing, Boyle then centers the 4th. It gives us plenty of options, and deapth that was missing this year! The only reason I mentioned 4th for Lindberg was to spread the wealth, we all know that Boyle played effectivly at the wing this season, why not start him there in the begining of the year? Also it would give us some more scoring that has been missing for a few years now.

  7. Frank cerbone says:

    Fast needs to get stronger; Lindberg may make the team if he beats out St Croix. Would like Mashinter & Mcilrath to make team to add some toughness.
    Hope Rangers move Dorsett who is not even close to being an Assham or Haley in toughness. Pyatt could go as well as Dorsett. Mcilrath & Mashinter both 6-4, 220 would definitely protect Ranger elite players. Mcilrath has already beaten up players that touched Thomas & Bourque. Nobody touched Lucic when he fractured Stralman’s face, cut up McDonough, an concussed Nash. That will NEVER happen Mcilrath’s watch.

    • @NYRFan_RF says:

      Where did any of this happen? A dream you had maybe. Dorsett led the NHL a year ago in fighting majors and penalty mins. McIllrath might be a year or more away from making the NHL. Mashinter might make a solid 4th liner some day but to say he’s starting in NHL next year is a stretch. When did Nash have a concussion? Or you mean the undisclosed injury he had that nobody knows about.
      Where did you pull St Croix name out of? He hasn’t even played a game in the AHL yet. He isn’t beating anyone. Most of that is not happening. Haley has a few NHL games and Asham has a shot but is too old. Dorsett should be here a while. Mashinter is likely a depth guy for spot duty in the event of an injury or add some size if needed. Oh and Fasth is just a little guy. I don’t think he’s ever gonna bulk up. He uses his speed as his weapon.

  8. wwpd says:

    “With the Rangers needing more of everything – scoring, depth, size, physical presence, face off ability, special teams upgrades”

    well that about says it all, doesn’t it!

  9. Lou says:

    Lets look at our needs:
    Need to get bigger;
    Need to get tougher;
    Need to get people in front of the net (not behind it).

    That means we keep Dorsett and lose Pyatt;
    We definite;y add McIllrath (nothing else to prove in the minors) and lose Emminger;
    We sign Bickel (yes, overpay but he is a young guy) and lose Clowe;
    And add Miller as 3rd line Center…moving Boyle to 4th line.

    Line #1: Hags…Step…Cally
    Line #2: Kreider…Brass…Nash
    Line #3: Bickell…Miller…Zuc
    Line #4: Dorsett…Boyle…Powe

    Lindberg as 1st backup

    D: Girardi…McD
    McIllrath…Moore
    Strallman…Staal
    MDZ traded for Pietrangelo, Bogossian or Tyler Myers

    Good core for cup run!!!

    • Erixon20 says:

      I love Hags, but on a good team he is a 3rd liner. And on a good team (with a non-Tortslike coach) a 3rd liner actually gets a lot of icetime. He has to learn the PK. Zucc is a good little player, but suited for a top 6 forward slot….and not good enough to be top 6 forward on a contender. Powe is worthless. I think you are right on about the centers and hope you are right about McIlrath. I hope Lindberg makes the team and moves JT to 3rd line wing. Would love to add Bickell but so would 29 other teams. This is what I would do if we don’t sign any UFAs:

      Clowe – Brass – Nash
      Kreids – Step – Cally
      Hags – Lindberg – JT
      Ash – Boyle – Dorsett

  10. bernmeister says:

    All make the team
    Miller Kreider Lindberg Fast

    As to: “Fast’s position is likely also linked to that of Ryane Clowe’s, Mats Zuccarello’s, and fellow prospects such as Kreider and Miller. If Clowe and Zuccarello are kept (and ideally both will) then Fast will surely start the year in Connecticut.”

    Clowe will not be here, too slow, not worth the pick, $ better used.

    Zuc may/may not be here possibly ok to beat out Pyatt for 4th line, but limited role makes him a maybe.

    The other guys are the real deal.