Having an outstanding beginning to his professional career, Carl Hagelin is becoming an offensive weapon for the CT Whale in the AHL. With Hagelin contributing in every way imaginable, the question of whether he breaks the Rangers roster this year deserves to be raised.
With 12 points (7 goals) in 16 games and an outstanding +10 already, Hagelin is thriving on the ice. He’s scored in shorthanded situations and scored a game winning penalty shot as well. There’s not really anything Hagelin hasn’t done yet and looks to be more offensively complete than many gave him credit for prior to entering the pro ranks.
Hagelin was considered a good two-way prospect that could fill a bottom six role at the NHL level, to be relied upon to play hard both ends. Is his play (both last year at the NCAA level and for the Whale) perhaps suggesting he could be more than ‘just’ a depth forward? Given his outstanding speed, maturity and now even shootout skills, Hagelin is showing another level is within reach offensively.
Thanks to the Rangers start this year and the apparent depth at their disposal, Hagelin has had to wait and is not being rushed (not a bad thing). A full year in the AHL may be in store for the young Swede but despite the depth in NY Hagelin may still get a shot. While Brian Boyle is safe from criticism because of his contract and defensive ability there are plenty of players under-performing in NY.
Erik Christensen is still unable to appear more than once a month and given Hagelin’s ability in the shootout that shouldn’t be enough to save EC from players being called up for a look. With Wolski and Rupp unable to stay healthy and Andre Devaux playing sparingly Hagelin may yet see New York ice this year. The Rangers were outmatched in the speed stakes against Montreal (as well as in other facets…) and Hagelin could add to that aspect if given the chance.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle – other than desire to give him big minutes in CT – may be the improving form of Sean Avery. With Avery finding the net and playing more like his old self the need for a guy like Hagelin may not be as immediate. With Sean Avery and John Tortorella however, you never know what is around the corner. There’s a lot of possibilities in the Rangers bottom six this year, one of them may include Hagelin at some point this season.