If Carl Hagelin can develop some consistency in his offensive game and improve his decision making, he could be an elite talent. Yes, the Rangers cruelly lost the first game in the Finals against the Los Angeles Kings, but there were positives to be seen and one of them was and continues to be the growth of Carl Hagelin.
Hagelin’s speed terrifies people. It was the focal point of the first portion of Game One in LA, and the Rangers should really focus their offensive game plan around Hagelin and Chris Kreider’s speed. When those two players arrive in the offensive zone at full speed, it’s pretty daunting for opposition defenses.
Hagelin’s goal was somewhat fortunate as Jonathan Quick had made the initial stop, and finishing is an area where Hagelin needs to improve. But he is constantly getting grade A opportunities because of his breakaway speed and constant pursuit of the puck. Imagine the possibilities if Rick Nash or Martin St Louis got the same frequency of quality looks Hagelin gets. With some refinement in his game, Hagelin has a legitimate chance to develop into an elite two-way force.
Intelligent, hard working and strong off the puck, Hagelin has so many qualities in addition to his ridiculous speed. He’s no one trick pony. It’s hard to believe it was seven years ago when Hagelin was drafted, but the Rangers have done the right thing with Hagelin, and have developed the young Swede steadily. With seven goals in the playoffs, Hagelin leads the Rangers in goals scored despite sitting sixth in ice time among forwards. He’s making the most of his ice time.
It’s not a stretch to suggest Hagelin can reach even greater heights. Most people acknowledged his offensive ability at Michigan but assumed he would top out as a speedy, defensive specialist at the pro level. He proved people wrong. People assumed he could be a casualty as the Rangers retooled, they thought he may get buried in the bottom six if he was even retained, but people were again wrong. Hagelin’s closing in on 100 career points in the regular season and, calculated over a full 82 game calendar, he’s averaging well above 40 points per season.
If the Rangers are going to have a say in this Cup Final and get back on level terms with the Kings, Hagelin will remain a pivotal figure. His speed demands attention and his elusiveness is a great asset against the big, physical Kings. Hagelin was drafted 168th overall in 2007. Back then, who thought Hagelin, would become a key player in a Stanley Cup Final? Hopefully Hagelin’s development still has a long way to go and hopefully it continues in the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers need him to keep improving."How far can Carl Hagelin take his game?",