Posts tagged: Jesper Fast

Rangers agree to terms with Jesper Fasth

The Rangers have agreed to terms with forward Jesper Fasth, their sixth round draft pick in 2010. Fasth was one of the Swedish Elite League’s top scorers before suffering a gruesome ankle injury that ended his season. In 21 games, Fasth had 16 points (5-11-16) and a +9 rating. The Rangers needed to offer the 5’11″ 176 lb winger a contract prior to the end of June or they would lose his rights.

Fasth has two years remaining on his SEL contract, but it is expected that he will join the Rangers organization before that contract expires.

The Rangers acquired this sixth round draft pick in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers sent Bobby Sanguinetti to Carolina in exchange for this pick and a second round pick (used in the Tim Erixon trade).

Rangers Prospect Report

Kreider Doing His Thing

As the Nash rumours continue to circulate, Chris Kreider continues to go about his ‘job’. There’s been a lot of turbulence in college hockey recently. Amid the news of Paul Kelly leaving his post at College Hockey Inc., there has been racist chanting at NCAA games so all is not well at the college level. With prospects such as Nash being touted as trade deadline assets, it can’t be an easy time for the young college kids to deal with.

Despite all that, Kreider managed to stay focussed on his game and grab an assist during Boston College’s 2-1 win over Merrimack, a game in which the division leading Eagles were outshot and suffered through an ineffective powerplay. Despite going 1 for 5 on the PP, Kreider’s assist did come on the special team’s unit as he had the primary assist on Brian Dumoulin’s tally.

For the season, Kreider has moved on to 36 points in 32 games with 19 goals. Some people in Rangers-fan-land are throwing out numbers of former college stars that were borderline NHL’ers and pointing out the negative and indeed, they all (people can bend statistics to cater for their arguments) had better, more dominant numbers than Kreider.

That said, that was a long time ago and the focus these days is very much bigger on the better college scorers. Pressures to be the next big thing are simply bigger, media coverage of college hockey is much wider and team’s expectancies of these college kids are much more intense than even just 15, 20 years ago (at times due to draft status, financial necessity, dependency on prospects). It’s not comparable to say “Jay Pandolfo scored this and Kreider only scored that”. Oranges and Apples folks.

Barring a stunning turn of events Kreider will be a Ranger prospect next season, he may even be a Ranger. He’s physically ready, he made the sensible decision to stay in college this year (kid seems to have a sensible head on his shoulders) and he has always seemed to handle the pressure of being a much anticipated prospect well. Assuming he’s not packaged for Wayne Gretzky Rick Nash, the Kreider talk should settle down and the winger should be left to play out a solid season with the Eagles.

St Croix Approaching Milestone

There’s still a lot of hockey left to play yet Michael St Croix (of the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL) is approaching a fine milestone, and once again making the Rangers draft team look good. St Croix is just 8 points off the magic 100 mark as he continues to have a great season in the WHL. Good for 6th in the league, he only trails blue chip prospects such as Emerson Etem (an insane 52 goals in 54 games), Ty Rattie and Jordan Weal in the league scoring race.

St Croix is showing he can do it all. With 38 goals and 54 assists St Croix appears equally at home dishing off the puck as well as looking to score himself. St Croix is leading his club in scoring by a wide 17 point margin, has an excellent +34 rating and has scored 16 PP goals as well. Thanks, in part to St Croix, the Oil Kings lead the Eastern Conference by 4 points and have an excellent 39 wins in 60 games. Drafted 106th overall (fourth round) by the Rangers in 2011, St Croix has seen his performances improve every year (from 46 – 75 – 92 points so far) and appears a solid prospect. The WHL is notoriously the hardest junior league to score heavily in, yet St Croix is doing it impressively.

Fasth Still on Sidelines

It’s hard to find a timetable for Jesper Fasth’s return from a foot injury as the young winger has still not hit the ice over in Sweden.  He was expected to be out approximately three months following injury in late November which has derailed a hugely promising start to his year.

The young winger had matched his previous SEL career high of 16 points in just 21 games and at one stage was among the leading scores of the SEL – no mean feat for such a young player in a veteran heavy league. Fasth had previously reached 16 points in 26 games which also was a solid return as a teenager in Sweden. Hopefully Fasth can get some games in before his season comes to a conclusion and get back on track in his development. An organisation can never have enough promising scorers.

Prospect Watch: Consistency Abound

Rangers’ prospects are showing more offensive consistency this season than the players already donning red white and blue.

Mid round prospect Jesper Fasth continued his strong play over the past week and is averaging a point per game as we approach November. The Swedish youngster is now up to 14 points in 14 games for his HV71 side in the SEL and is second in the league in scoring. The SEL is a relatively low scoring league and is often veteran heavy in regard to the offensive leaders so it’s a great achievement for Fasth to be among the league’s best scorers.

Considering Fasth scored 16 points all of last season for HV71 it gives you a little more appreciation to quite how good his start has been. Indeed 16 points in 36 games was considered a solid year for a 19 year old in 09/10 so Fasth is really blossoming this season.

Another player impacting the box score on a consistent basis is Michael St Croix in the WHL. The Edmonton Oil King has 12 points in 13 games to go with a +1 rating and has notched a couple of PP goals as well. St Croix however will expect to kick on somewhat as the young center scored over a point/game last season with 75 in 68. With the Oil Kings sitting on an 8-3-1-1 record St Croix will hope to become the focal point of the in-form side.

Another player in the WHL is Shane McColgan and he’s another player that keeps troubling the scorers as he leads his Kelowna side with 14 points in 11 games. Unfortunately the -6 rating isn’t as impressive. McColgan looks like a good pick by the Rangers however, as he continues to produce despite his Rockets team struggling in 4th place in their division with a 4-7-1 record. McColgan will be looking to lead his side to a better record.

Quick Hit Time:

  • Dylan McIlrath has 3 points (1 goal) in 8 games for Moose Jaw the WHL to go with 18 PIMS and a -1 rating. Moose Jaw are hovering around the .500 mark so far this season. Rangers’ try-out Colin Bowman has 4 goals and an assist from the blueline for Mcilrath’s club.
  • Chris Kreider has 8 points (4+4) in 6 games as he continues his solid season for BC. Notoriously a slow starter it all bodes well for a very strong year from arguably the Rangers most important prospect. Hell, when available he may even slot straight into the top line LW spot in New York, such is the flux at the position.
  • He’s only played 3 games but uMass senior Danny Hobbs has 5 points in 3 games so far this season. Hobbs has made great strides offensively each season going from 2, to 9, to 28 total points. Given his start he could very well beat the 28 mark this year.
  • Despite an ugly -8 rating, Christian Thomas continues to pick up offensively and now has 10 points in 13 games. By all accounts Thomas is trying to do it all for his side and could benefit from stepping back slightly and concentrating on his own game. With a rookie goalie in net Oshawa appear to be building towards next season so don’t rule out Thomas becoming an appealing target for contenders in the OHL.
  • Scott Stajcer appears to be beginning to shake of the rust of the preseason as he has improved his personal stats for Owen Sound to a 1-2-0-1 record, with a 2.91GAA and a .901 save %. Given his first couple of starts those numbers aren’t bad. The problem for Stajcer is the three-headed monster that is the goaltending situation in Owen Sound whose 6-8-0-1 record is none too impressive.

Prospect Watch: Miller Time

He had a good camp and now he’s truly settling in to his OHL rookie campaign. JT Miller scored 2 goals against Sarnia on Saturday night as he played his most impressive game of the young season, offensively speaking. Miller has 9 points in 9 games to begin the year which is no mean feat for the youngster as his Plymouth team has begun the season winning just four of their first 10 games. You may have heard of the name sitting right behind Miller on team scoring: Andy Bathgate. If Miller can show offensive consistency all season Miller will keep his name in the immediate discussion for the professional ranks next season. It will be interesting to see whether Miller has any kind of college wall in junior as the OHL season is similar in length to the pros.

Miller may have left college for the junior circuit but two Ranger prospects are still making waves in college. While Chris Kreider is garnering a lot of attention for his solid start (rightly so) Danny Hobbs has kept pace with the BC winger as both players have 5 points in their first four games. Both players are among offensive leaders nationally. Hobbs’ numbers however may be more impressive on one hand as he has his 5 points in just 2 games however Kreider’s level of competition has been tougher. Kreider however seems to have a case of Rangeritis as he already has 10 penalty minutes on the season, a number he’d do well to keep as low as possible.

Prospect Quick Hits:

  • As we mentioned last week (before the bandwagon got rolling….) Jesper Fasth has been enjoying an exceptional start to his campaign in the SEL. How good? With his 11 points in 11 games to start the year Fasth (a 20 year old in the senior league) is 7th overall in league scoring. With a game winner and a power play goal to his credit, Fasth is getting goals in a variety of situations. America bound next year? At this rate, very likely.
  • Peter Čerešňák has had a solid start to the year for his OHL Petes side. With 5 points (1+4) and a +4 in his first 9 games the big defenseman seems to be settling in well to Canadian Junior. He’ll be an interesting one to follow throughout the year as he and Yogan look to lead the Petes.
  • Camp try outs doing well? He may not have been with the Rangers long but TJ Foster has been in great form for the WHL Oil Kings of Edmonton. He has 11 points in 11 games as he looks to earn another look from a big club. Maybe the Rangers will look at Foster again?
  • Scott Stajcer has had a rough start (rust?) back in the OHL. In his first two games Stajcer has two losses, an inflated GAA of 4.50 and a save percentage of just .859; Stajcer will be hoping to get back on track as he looks to stay relevant in the organisation. It’s hard not to think that Stajcer’s and Chad Johnson’s futures are closely entwined this season.
  • Boone Jenner is leading his club but Christian Thomas is slowly heating up. The Oshawa General has started scoring with more regularity and has now hit 7 points (4 goals) in 10 games. It’ll be hard to replicate last year given his start but as many people have said it’s not just about numbers for Thomas this season.

We’ll look in more detail throughout the next week or so at one or two of the prospects making some noise this season. The pipeline is still full folks.  

Prospect Watch – Crazy over Kreider

It’s the start of hockey season so it’s time to keep our regular check on the next wave of Rangers.

Chris Kreider has been guilty of slow starts in seasons past. Not this year. In the first two games of Boston College’s season, Kreider came up with big goals (and an assist) to help his side open the season in impressive fashion. Throw in a healthy +3 to boot and you have yourself, statistically a nice start to an important year.

Many expected/wanted Kreider to go pro and when he didn’t it raised eyebrows but Kreider needs to dominate and he appears to be heading towards that level of hockey. With his now well known speed still causing havoc, by all accounts Kreider appears a more rounded hockey player so far which only bodes well. Showing that he will be a core piece for BC this season, Kreider captured the MVP title in the ‘Ice Breaker’ tournament thanks to his offensive showing. If Kreider can have a dominating year, he’ll be a huge candidate to go straight to New York next season. Patience for now though.

A player that in part due to injury may have become slightly forgotten is Swedish draftee Jesper Fasth. After an impressive WJC last year, Fasth has made huge offensive strides in the SEL this season. With 10 points, 4 goals and a mighty +8 to begin the year with HV71 Fasth is showing he could become a great pick-up and add to the Rangers growing Swedish core. With a big season under his belt Fasth could pressure the likes of Thomas, Kreider and co. as the next wave of Rangers offense matures towards NYC.

Two players most Rangers fans are counting on are indeed Thomas, back in the OHL and joining him in Ontario, JT Miller. With an NHL contract under his belt and a new league to conquer, at least offensively Miller has started well with 5 points in 6 games. It will be interesting to see how Miller handles a much longer season – it will certainly stand him in good stead for professional play when the time comes. Thomas on the other hand has had a relatively muted start to his year when compared to his brilliant season, last time around. With 3 goals in 7 games Thomas is off to a decent but not hot start. Numbers aren’t the most critical part for Thomas this year – he needs to develop physically and get ready for his likely introduction to the pro ranks next season.

  • With a group of offensive kids like Kreider, Miller, Thomas and Fasth there is still a ton of skill on its way to New York. There may be plenty of players in New York looking over their shoulders if they have sub-par seasons this year thanks to the stream of prospects making their way through the system.

Selected Prospect Quick Hits:

  • Oscar Lindberg has started his SEL campaign going 1+2 in 9 games for AIK
  • Shane McColgan was goalless in 4 games but did have 5 helpers to open his season in the WHL
  • In the BCHL Steve Fogarty had 2+4 in 7 games for Penticton.
  • Scott Stajcer is still with Owen Sound after being returned to the OHL by the Rangers
  • Mikhail Pashnin was pointless in his first 10 for CSKA in the KHL

Each week we’ll focus on a few of the core prospects and provide some updates on other Rangers prospects doing good or bad as their year’s progress. Keep checking in. 

USA, Sweden Fall; Will Play For Bronze

Last night, Team USA saw their hopes of winning two straight gold medals at the World Junior Championships crushed at the hands of an incredibly stacked Team Canada. The USA, featuring Rangers prospects Chris Kreider and Ryan Bourque, played a very lackluster game, and lost 4-1 to the Canadians. The only bright spot for Team USA was goalie Jack Campbell, who stood on his head and was the only reason why this game wasn’t 10-1 at the end. Both Bourque and Kreider played strong games, but the overall play of Team USA left something to be desired.

As for Team Sweden, with Rangers prospect Jesper Fasth, they fell in a shootout to Russia 4-3, and will face USA for the bronze medal. Fasth made the Rangers proud, playing a solid game and netting an assist while playing top line minutes. The bronze medal game will begin at 3:30pm on Wednesday.

All four Ranger prospects, including Roman Horak of the Czech Republic, have played solidly in this tournament. Kreider, Bourque, and Horak are three names you generally hear when talking about Ranger prospects, but Fasth really landed on the map after this tournament. Fasth still has two years left on his contract with the Swedish Elite League, but Kreider, Bourque, and Horak will likely turn pro after their seasons end in the NCAA, QMJHL, and WHL respectively.

Kreider, Fasth Score; USA, Sweden Win

Team USA, one of the strong teams at this year’s World Junior Championships, won its games last night to improve to 3-0 in round robin play. Chris Kreider (first round, 2009) scored for Team USA in their 4-0 win over Germany. In a game utterly dominated by Team USA, Kreider scored a powerplay goal in the second period, his first of the tournament. Ryan Bourque (third round, 2009) also added an assist. In the three games thus far for Team USA, Kreider has a goal and two assists, and Bourque has two assists. Both are seeing significant ice time.

Meanwhile, in a game that saw two Ranger prospects square off, Sweden knocked off the Czech Republic 6-3 to also remain 3-0 in round robin play. Jesper Fasth (sixth round, 2010) netted two goals in the game, giving him a total of three goals to go with one assist in Sweden’s three games thus far. In the game, Czech winger Roman Horak (fifth round, 2009) did not score, but played a very strong game and was one of the Czech’s key players.

Each team plays their final games of round robin play today, with Sweden taking on Canada at 4pm, Czech Republic taking on Russia at 7pm, and Team USA taking on Switzerland at 8pm. Both USA and Sweden have wrapped up spots in the single elimination tournament, but the Czechs need a win against Russia to secure that final spot.

WJC: Team USA, Sweden Win; Czech Republic Loses

Team USA continued their winning ways last night, crushing Slovakia 6-1 to increase their record to 2-0 in the tournament. Rangers prospects Chris Kreider (first round, 2009) and Ryan Bourque (third round, 2009). Both players earned assists in the contest, giving Kreider two for the tournament, and Bourque one. Although neither player has scored a goal, both look very strong and have been playing very well, including getting considerable time on the powerplay. Bourque was also used on the penalty kill. Kreider also finished with a +1 rating, while Bourque was even for the game. Team USA’s next game is tomorrow against Germany at 7pm.

Jesper Fasth (sixth round, 2010), playing for Sweden, scored a goal and finished with a +1 rating in Sweden’s 2-0 win over Russia. Sweden, like the USA, is 2-0 so far in tournament play.

Roman Horak (fifth round, 2009), playing for the Czech Republic, was held off the score sheet as the Czechs were dominated by the Canadians. Sweden (with Fasth) will face the Czech Republic (with Horak) tomorrow at 7pm.

USA, Sweden Win Openers in World Junior Championship

The Rangers have four prospects playing in this year’s World Junior Championship, and three of them played last night in Buffalo. Team USA, who won gold last year, has Chris Kreider (1st round, 2009) and Ryan Bourque (3rd round, 2009) returning for this year’s tournament. Team USA started off strong, beating Team Finland 3-2 in overtime last night. Kreider assisted on USA’s first goal, playing on the first line. Bourque was held off the score sheet while playing on the third line. Both finished with an even rating.

Jesper Fasth (6th round, 2010) was also in action for Team Sweden yesterday. Fasth had an assist in Sweden’s 7-1 rout of Norway while skating on the top line. Fasth also finish with a +1 rating. This is his first World Junior Championship.

The fourth Rangers prospect participating in this year’s tournament is Roman Horak (5th round, 2009), playing for the Czech Republic. Horak, like Kreider and Bourque, is playing in his second straight tournament. He will suit up today as the Czechs take on Norway.

Looking Ahead: Jesper Fasth

One of the great unknowns of the Rangers 2010 draft was Swedish winger Jesper Fasth. Many wondered what type of player the Rangers got and with limited exposure thus far, most people are still wondering the same thing.

It might be the dog days of the hockey season for the Rangers but Fasth’s season has already begun. Currently playing for Swedish men’s side HV71 in the European Trophy, Fasth has been playing on the 4th line but still managed to be quite productive grabbing 3 assists in 6 games including 2 in a recent 6-0 rout over Finnish side Karpart. Fasth’s season thus far also took in an under 20 tournament for Sweden where he went 1+1 in 4 games for the Swedes so the 18 year old winger has had a pretty solid start to his year.

So what type of player is the 6ft Fasth, who can play both wings? This is the scouting report from eliteprospects.com;

Fasth is a very good skater with nice acceleration and top speed. He works very hard, forechecks with impressive intensity and also create a lot of offense thanks to his agility and speed. Has decent hockey sense, technical skills and scoring ability, but it perhaps still more likely to develop into a role player.

It sounds like Fasth’s game is consistent with the desire for the Rangers to place an emphasis on speed and work ethic but in terms of scoring ability and skill level the young Swede appears to be a project. Its obvious that Fasth was picked with the long term in mind. He’ll be given all the time in the world to  develop in Sweden before the Rangers look at him as a serious, potential NHL candidate.

With many forward prospects close to being ready for the Rangers there is no need to rush the player. His good start this year playing with the HV71 men’s team at just 18 years old, Fasth appears to have a solid future. Drafted 157th overall there was also very little risk in this pick for the Rangers and lets not forget, the Rangers have had some pretty good success with drafting Swedes late……