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Posts tagged: Jesper Fast

How the Rangers future is being affected by the lockout

Jesper Fast is among the league leaders in goals in the SEL.

It’s amazing what kind of effect a labour stoppage can have. With Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan firmly entrenched on the Rangers’ wings, with Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider both not going anywhere any time soon – and on the cusp of being essential Rangers – the pressure grows on all the potential Rangers wingers found at the levels below.

Jesper Fast is having a great start to the season in the SEL with HV71 and is proving that his fast start last season – unfortunately ruined by injury – was no fluke. When Fast is healthy he’s dangerous. What Fast is doing, more than anything else, is putting pressure on other prospects such as Christian Thomas, to be the next guy.

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Around the Farm: Miller strong in AHL preseason debut, Lindberg/Fast continue hot starts

Despite the 3-1 loss to Albany in Connecticut’s 2012-2013 preseason opener, there were many positives coming from the game. Per Jim Cerny, top prospect J.T. Miller was one player that stood out the most during the loss. Miller recorded the Whale’s lone goal and was a physical and dominating presence on the ice. Miller, playing on a line with Michael Haley and Chad Kolarik, was creative and showed that he belonged on the ice with the other AHL players.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast continued their torrid starts. Lindberg added another assist to his totals in a 2-1 shootout loss, while Fast scored yet another goal in HV71’2 4-1 win. Lindberg remains in the top five in scoring, while Fast is tied for second in goals.

One other item worth noting is that Thomas Spelling has only dressed for one game for Rogle’s SEL squad. He has suited up every other game in the Swedish Juniors*, and he is not very happy about it. The link is in Danish, but the Google Chrome translator gave this little nugget:

“It is as if the coach doesn’t believe in me, and I never really get any feedback other than being told that “things are going in the right direction”. But he never really speaks to me, unless I come to him first”

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Around the Farm: Fast, Lindberg have quiet nights

Jesper Fast (HV71) and Oscar Lindberg (Skellefteå AIK) were unable to build momentum stemming from their multi-point night just two days ago. Fast was held pointless in a 3-1 loss to Modo, while Lindberg was held off the board in a 5-3 win over Brynäs. Despite being held pointless, Lindberg is still one of the top scorers in league with seven points in six games, and Fast one of the top goal scorers with three in six games.

Sticking with the SEL, Thomas Spelling’ Rögle BK pulled out a 3-1 win over Växjö, a game in which Spelling did not play.

Peter Ceresnak, the lone CHL prospect in action last night, was held pointless and finished with a -1 rating in Peterborough’s 5-1 loss to Erie. After the jump, check out each player’s line from last night.

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Fast to play in North America next season

Good news out of Sweden, as touted prospect Jesper Fast (formerly Fasth) is planning on coming over to North America after this season. In an interview with Hockey Sverige (s/t to Adam Rotter of SNY Rangers Blog for finding this), Fast stated that he is happy to be in Sweden for one more year, but plans on coming over to play in North America (either with the Rangers or the Whale) next season.

After suffering a gruesome ankle injury that shortened last year, Fast has come back strong with three goals in his first five games in the SEL this season. Fast will need some polishing, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play at least one year in the AHL prior to jumping to the NHL. There is a big difference between the Euro game and the North American game. Just ask Mats Zuccarello.

The Rangers initially signed Fast to an entry level deal in May.

Around the Farm: Lindberg, Fast have multi-point nights

It appears that despite rough seasons last year, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast have found their stride to open the SEL season. Lindberg, already off to a hot start, scored a goal and added two assists in Skellefteå AIK’s 5-2 win. Those three points give Lindberg a line of 2-5-7 in just five games in the low-scoring SEL.

As for Fast, the touted prospect is still recovering from a gruesome ankle injury last season. But that didn’t stop him from scoring twice in HV71’s 5-3 win last night. That gives Fast three goals in five games to open the season.

Fast and Lindberg were the only two prospects in action last night. After jump, you can see their scoring lines from last night.

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Prospects with a chance to make the team

As the offseason turns to August, and the rosters begin to take shape, the attention turns away from those with guaranteed roster spots and towards the many prospects within the system that are all competing to be that sleeper in camp. Last year Stu Bickel was that sleeper, and Carl Hagelin was the mid-season call up that many expected he would be. This year there aren’t as many spots open for kids, but there is still a spot or two available for a kid who impresses.

With Tim Erixon traded to Columbus, the prospects on defense with a real chance to make the club are few in numbers. In fact, you can really say that only Dylan McIlrath has a legitimate shot at making the club, although he likely needs a full season at the AHL level.

As for forwards, the list is significantly longer. That said, it is a certainty that the Rangers will not rush their prospects just for the sake of saying they have a rookie on the club (outside of Chris Kreider of course). There are a few kids that will need to turn in fantastic camps in order to even have a longer look come the preseason.

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Where the forward prospects stand

Before Friday’s draft it’s a good idea to take stock of what the Rangers already have in the system.  If New York follows suit, then the Blueshirts will pick the best player available regardless of position.  However, it’s worth evaluating where the team’s strengths lie, starting with a status update for the organization’s forwards.

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault

J.A.M. burst onto the scene in 2011-2012 with a surprisingly strong showing at the Traverse City Tournament in September and he was only just getting started.  Ryan Bourque’s old teammate with the QMJHL’s Quebec Ramparts earned a one-year contract with the Whale and made the most of the opportunity.  He battled for the team points lead all season and finished with 64 (24 goals, 40 assists), tied for the team lead and good for third among AHL rookies.  Audy-Marchessault still faces an uphill climb to the NHL thanks to his (listed) 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame, but he is much closer to achieving his dream than he was a year ago.  The bad news is that J.A.M. may not even be Rangers’ property come July; the 21-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and may prefer to sign with a club that could better use his services.  It’s hard to see exactly where Audy-Marchessault fits in the prospect depth chart and he’d likely garner several other offers following his banner year.  GM Glen Sather will surely offer J.A.M. a contract, but the rest is up to him.

Ryan Bourque

Bourque was one of the last cuts at training camp but disappeared for the first chunk of the season with Connecticut after suffering a concussion in his third game.  He drew little attention the rest of the way because of his irrelevant offensive production (six goals and eight assists in 69 games), but suddenly Bourque was in the spotlight again as the Whale began its playoff run.  Bourque was one player that noticeably raised his game in the postseason and even contributed a bit more offensively with two goals and an assist in nine postseason games.  It’s tough to imagine Bourque being much of a scorer at the NHL level, but he has a very well-rounded game, is a terrific skater and is a major pest on the forecheck, qualities that could endear him to the Rangers’ coaching staff sooner than some of the organization’s more touted prospects.  Bourque’s confidence is surely higher after a strong late season push and since he was one of the last cuts last year, it stands to reason that he could push very hard for a bottom-six role in New York next year.

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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.