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Waiting on one more key ingredient: Carl Hagelin

Carl Hagelin’s  speed is unmatched

It’s far too early in the season to make any fair assessment of the 2013-2014 Rangers, but already several things have become apparent – chief among them that the Blueshirts have impressive depth this season.

The return of the team’s heart and soul, Ryan Callahan, on Monday night provided a huge boost against the L.A. Kings and further solidified New York’s top-nine.  The one key piece that remains out of the lineup is 25-year-old LW Carl Hagelin, who underwent surgery on a torn shoulder labrum last spring but is on a slightly slower recovery path than Callahan.

Of course, an extended injury to Rick Nash would put a big dent in the depth, but we are optimistic that it won’t be a lingering injury.

Hagelin was placed on LTIR before the season and is slated to miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days, keeping him out until at least October 29th against the Islanders.  It could be longer than that; since Hagelin still hasn’t been cleared for contact we have no real way of knowing his timeline.

Still, it’s exciting to think about how the roster might look when #62 does return.  There are a handful of players more valuable to the Blueshirts than Hagelin, but there might not be anyone that single-handedly changes the game as much as he does.  Obviously Henrik Lundqvist is the club’s backbone in net, Nash is as good a goal scorer as you’ll find in the NHL, and three Blueshirt blueliners are frequently mentioned among the NHL’s best.  They’re all great players, but none of them possess that one singular quality that tilts the ice the way Hagelin’s lightning speed can.

Shortly after Hagelin’s arrival, John Tortorella began instructing his players to dump the puck deep into the far corner and let his thoroughbred chase it down regardless of the risk of icing.  That may not be possible for Alain Vigneault given the league’s new attention to hybrid icing, but rest assured that Vigneault is chomping at the bit to give his new toy a spin.

Already against the Kings we saw that the Rangers can be very effective playing at a faster tempo and that will only come more naturally when the quickest player in the league returns.

Like Callahan and Derek Stepan, Hagelin will surely need a bit of time to shake off the rust when he hits the ice.  But there were plenty of encouraging reports from training camp that Hagelin’s speed wasn’t affected at all by his offseason recovery and he is overall in tremendous shape.

Besides his legs, Hagelin is also a puck possession monster, dependable penalty killer and has at times in the past shown touch around the net.  He’s absolutely among the top-nine forwards on the squad, and probably among the top-six.

Knock on wood that the Rangers remain healthy, but the idea of adding Hagelin to an already deep bench is cause for excitement.  If Nash is OK, Hagelin’s return in a couple of weeks could make New York free of significant injuries for the first time since early last season.  If you remember, at that point many viewed the Blueshirts as a Stanley Cup favorite.

19 Responses to “Waiting on one more key ingredient: Carl Hagelin”

  1. Dave says:

    This is a team very thin at LW right now. Hagelin is out, and Kreider screwing the pooch in camp opened up some holes we didn’t expect.

    • Centerman21 says:

      Aren’t Nash-Pouliot(off)-Zuccarelo-Pyatt all LWers? I thought the problem was the right side. All the LW are playing on the right side because of the lack of RWers. Cally helps but I thought they needed a righty winger?

      • Dave says:

        Nash plays the off wing, as does Zuccarello (he can play both). RW is Nash-Cally-Zucc-Dorsett-Asham. LW is Richards-Hagelin-Pouliot-Pyatt-??

  2. Centerman21 says:

    Who is moved out of the current lineup when Hagelin returns? To move a bottom 6 player out would be to make the team smaller. The top 6 needs all the scoring depth it can get but you’d think Hagelin fits in there. Is it Pyatt who plays hard when his job is on the line but otherwise is transparent. I can’t see moving a 4th liner. This team is lacking what Dorsett & Asham bring.

  3. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    “Of course, an extended injury to Rick Nash would put a big dent in the depth, but we are optimistic that it won’t be a lingering injury.”

    – What’s the basis for the optimism? Just curious as potential concussions are a big deal.

    • Dave says:

      We are optimists. That’s it.

      • Kevin says:

        And because I wrote this post before last night’s game, before the Nash injury happened and almost ruined it.

    • VinceR says:

      Well, no call up for Miller today in transactions,so that either means Fast is playing tomorrow or Nash injury isn’t serious.

      No practice today (per new CBA regulations) so we will know tomorrow.

  4. Mikeyyy says:

    I heard rumors that hags stinks on the pp.

  5. Kev says:

    The same guy who actually played him on the PP the next game

  6. Frank Cerbonr says:

    Would be nice if Rangers could get center Andrew Cogliano who is the 2nd fastest skater to Hagelin in the history of the NHL in their skating/time trials for rookies. Also, Cogliano, besides being a decent scorer, checker, HAS NEVER MISSED A GAME IN THE NHL.

    I have been posting this request for 4 years now.

    How about a Luke Schenn for Del Zotto?
    Rangers get a young physical, right handed shot.

    • Kevin says:

      I’m surprised the Rangers haven’t made the move if you’ve been suggesting it for so long!
      Schenn is absolutely horrible.

      • Walt says:

        Well stated Kevin, Toranto gave up on him real quick, and the Flyers jumped on him. Proof positive, they, Philly, are judges of talent when it comes to d-men aren’t they???

  7. Bloomer says:

    I like how Hags play hockey, his skating and his tenacity. He’s definitely part of the puzzle if the Rangers want to be competitive this year.

  8. Bloomer says:

    Hot off the wire from TSN….the New York Rangers have announced they are bringing up goalie Scott Sjacer and as a result… Henrik Lundquist has been waived. It was a tough move said coach AV and yes our cap space did play a role in our decision.