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Managing Expectations: Jesper Fast

What colours will Jesper Fasts tart in next season? (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

What colours will Jesper Fast start in next season? (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Jesper Fast has acclimatised well to North America despite suffering a few injuries over the past couple seasons. Last year, on a struggling WolfPack team, Fast managed to grab 17 goals and 34 points in his first full year in the AHL. Those totals managed to get him a shot with the Rangers which included 3 games in the playoffs and his first NHL point (an assist). Those totals also showed that his relative offensive explosion the year before in the SEL wasn’t a fluke or a hot streak.

What Fast hasn’t yet done is show that his production in Sweden – and in the AHL – can translate to the NHL. Many fans will see Fast’s cup of coffee with the Rangers, his relative lack of production and the arrival of a slew of depth signings at the NHL level and assume Fast is a prospect in danger of being lost in the shuffle.

What the depth signings suggest is that Fast is not yet ready for full time NHL play and that is probably true. That said, the Rangers haven’t rushed fast nor have they needed to and that’s the right way to treat the young winger. What is also yet to be established however, is what kind of player Fast will be at the NHL level. Will he be an offensive producer or another Hagelin type Swede who excels through his skating ability and work rate?

Fast’s speed, solid size and work rate make him an ideal candidate to be called up mid season as barring a stunning preseason and training camp the Rangers top nine appears a little crowded right now. The likes of Lee Stempniak won’t be a deterrent long term and Martin St Louis isn’t getting any younger either. Then there’s Hagelin himself who is getting more expensive with every season which in theory could see Fast eventually step in and replace Hagelin if Hagelin’s future lies elsewhere.

Fast has time on his side. He is a key part of the WolfPack and will see major minutes on the minor league club which should allow him to develop his offensive game. With several veterans and talented young players in the mix for the ‘Pack, Fast could (should?) have a strong season.

Apparently (according to some in the media) the Rangers don’t have many offensive prospects close to making the big club so a strong season from Fast in the ‘A would be a huge boost to the Rangers as well as to his own hopes long term.

With his talent and with strong, offensive producing potential line mates in the AHL such as Chris Mueller and Oscar Lindberg Fast could flirt with 30 goals as his familiarisation in the AHL continues. Fast may or may not be the focus of Rangers fans right now but he’s definitely a player worth monitoring. With his development influencing not just his own future but those of Carl Hagelin and several other players in the organisation, Fast is an intriguing prospect this coming season.

"Managing Expectations: Jesper Fast", 5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.

7 Responses to “Managing Expectations: Jesper Fast”

  1. Gary says:

    I didn’t know he had solid size. Was assuming he’s still a wispy 165 or 170. If he is Hags, I’d still like to keep Hags. Through in Lindberg and we start to look like a young Wings group to a degree. Hey, can we trade to get Erixon back? :-)

  2. WilliamW says:

    The signing of Stempniak likely reduces Fast’s chances of being on the big club this year as the wings on top 3 lines appear set. If AV trusts him to handle tough starts and potentially PK time he could be on the 4th line though I’d wager he’s the #1 njury callup this season should a scoring line wing be sidelined

    Begs the question as to his future though as Nash, Kreider, Zuc and Hags are (hopefully) here LT, MSL is still a premier scorer and will likely be here until that’s no longer the case and the top jr. prospects Buchnevich and Duclair are scoring wingers. Looking forward to hearing Gorton / Clark’s take on this hopefully during TC

    I’d like to see him assigned to shadow Hagelin and Lindberg assigned to shadow Moore – that’d be best case scenario for their development along with some time in the weight room

  3. SalMerc says:

    I agree that he probably does not make the club out of training camp. I do feel that we still may see a Hags/Stall trade by next years trade deadline. I would like to bring back a center and a #1 pick. This might open the door for Fast if he indeed can tear it up in the AHL. I also think the current prospects may be just “salary discounted wings” for a while, until we get some more Cap space.

  4. Fast is a right handed shot. if Stempniak and maybe Mueller makeup the bottom 6 RW. Then the Rangers need one more RW. Balance is big between L/R handed shots. Especially on the PP. I think this is why the Rangers faultered towards the end of last season on the PP. Teams just leaned to the left side. No off-wingers on the LW.

  5. paulronty says:

    With Stempniak & Lombardi added Fast’s chances are reduced but in the event of injuries he will be one of the primary callups. What IO’d like to see from him is an outstanding training camp and then some good production in the AHL before callup. That would mean we can count on him in 2015.

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