During yesterday’s Thanksgiving festivities, the Rangers made a pair of call ups that got the Twitter-verse and blog-o-sphere talking. Much hyped prospect Carl Hagelin, who has been tearing up the AHL, and John Mitchell were both recalled. In 17 games with the Whale, Hagelin has a line of 7-6-13 and a whopping +12 rating, while Mitchell has posted a line of 7-7-14 with a +1 rating.
Hagelin is one of the Rangers higher rated prospects, but fans have gravitated towards him because of his speed. Hagelin can seriously fly, but missed the cut out of camp because he needed to control his speed and use it at the right times. He struggled in his first few games with the Connecticut Whale, but really turned it on in the past few games, and has been the Whale’s best player thus far.
Both players being called up means the Rangers are looking to shake things up a bit. Likely out of the lineup is Andre Deveaux, who only played three minutes against the first half of the game –he was given a match penalty for an elbow to Tomas Fleishmann’s head. The hearing on that will be this morning.
The Rangers would only call up Hagelin to play on one of the top three lines. The current top three LWs are Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Ruslan Fedotenko. I’m no coach, but considering Fedotenko’s offensive struggles, inserting Hagelin on the third line could be done to help provide a boost to that line.
Running through the numbers, unless Mitchell is scratched the Rangers will need to scratch another forward from the lineup. The obvious candidates here are Erik Christensen and Sean Avery. Avery had less ice time against Florida, but had four more shifts than Christensen. It’s really a toss up to see who sits. My money would be on Avery, because Christensen does have some offensive talent that could potentially mix with Mitchell (who has put up decent numbers in the NHL before) or Hagelin/Fedotenko.
Just a note about why Hagelin was called up in lieu of Mats Zuccarello: there are salary cap issues with calling up Zuccarello. These could be solved with a few moves (placing Mike Rupp on LTIR), but it seems the Rangers want to get a good look at Hagelin at the NHL level. This is around the time last year when Ryan McDonagh forced his way on to the roster. So there may be something to this.