Carl Hagelin’s long term Ranger future

Despite showing an unexpected offensive upside at the NHL level in his rookie year the Rangers will be better placed for a long term, successful era when Carl Hagelin is flying down the left wing on the third line. He won’t be a casualty of depth but could be the difference maker because of it.

Make no mistake Hagelin exceeded expectations this year (despite a generally subpar playoffs ), showed his flexibility in terms of ability to slide up and down the line-up, while also surprising many with his ability to play on the top line and not look out of depth alongside marquee NHL talent such as Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. However, there are a few reasons why Hagelin’s future may lie further down the line-up – something that is no insult by any stretch.

As discussed extensively, there is a good chance that the Rangers will pursue a high end, skilled forward this summer to help remedy the main causes of their playoff series loss to the Devils in particular. The main reasons the Rangers lost were inconsistent – to be polite – goal scoring and a (still) subpar powerplay. Bringing in someone like the oft mentioned Zach Parise should help remedy both areas of need. Needless to say, bringing in a big ticket like Parise means ice time and an integral role for the new recruit. It likely means top line duty and will bump other players further down the roster – including Hagelin.

Then there is the Chris Kreider factor to consider. Kreider, like Hagelin, made an immediate impact for the Rangers straight from college and he did this in the toughest arena of all – the playoffs. While both players are mature for their age and blessed with blazing speed it’s assumed – and expected – Kreider will be the heavier scorer. Given the way Kreider burst on to the scene in the playoffs (5 goals) the blue chip prospect will be given every opportunity to assume a goal scoring position next season. Like with a new, external recruit this could affect what line Hagelin plays the majority of his minutes.

One thing both Kreider and Hagelin do is bring almost unrivalled skating ability to the Rangers. Throw in Gaborik’s elite skating ability and the Rangers have at least three world class skaters whose speed alone can be a difference maker. Imagine each one of the trio skating on a different line. The mismatch opportunities for coach Tortorella soon rack up. With players like Hagelin and Kreider going against other teams’ bottom lines there’s likely to only be one winner in the speed stakes.

Having a player like Hagelin on the third line allows the Rangers to maintain a perhaps unparalleled, sustained forecheck as the team suddenly has a player that can beat other team’s defenses to the puck in the corners on almost every line. Rangers fans have seen the impact Hagelin’s speed can have when he’s chasing down the pucks. It’s both a way of breaking up pressure from opposition – most defenses back off guys like Hagelin – and a way of generating offense.

There is also the sheer depth that having a player like Hagelin in the bottom six creates. When the Boyle-Prust- insert third player name line is the de-facto bottom line, then the Rangers have the depth to win a cup. The same principle rings true for Hagelin. With Hagelin and the likes of Artem Anisimov on a potential third line the Rangers should have a line that can create offense, that can cycle the puck down low and one that is defensively sound. One of the Rangers issues against the Devils and all season long was an inability to generate consistent scoring lower down the line-up. Again, Hagelin can help this.

It’s not an insult to Hagelin’s ability or place in the organisation to suggest him as a third line player. It’s also not suggesting that his Rangers career would be in jeopardy with subsequent, likely moves to add further forwards, far from it. Having Hagelin on the third line is a potential luxury for Tortorella to exploit that few coaches around the league enjoy.

Should the Rangers manage to upgrade the skill department (an absolute organisational priority this summer) there is a very real chance Hagelin will be on a lower line. Imagine a theoretical left side of Parise-Kreider-Hagelin and then try and suggest that the Swede wouldn’t be in position to succeed just because he’s lower down the line-up. Hagelin may not be in line for the same linemates next year but both he and the Rangers may benefit from it when looking at it objectively.

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  • You forgot to add that shaggy will not face top lines or shut down lines on the bottom six which should increase his scoring opportunities.

    But speed doesn’t matter if your system doesn’t exploit it. Which ours doesn’t. We do use the speed to create a great for check but I am talking about forcing two on ones and transition scoring. It’s there we just have to find a way to fit it into the current system.

          • Exactly. Haggs has 1st line speed but that’s about it. He was projected to be a 3rd line energy/speed guy who can provide some offense and be defensively responsible. Which is exactly what he is. The ‘system’ did not make him that.

          • I wouldn’t be too quick to cement Hags as a bottom 6 player. His future is still unwritten, but I am not about to blame a system or coach for a player’s lack of offense, especially when said coach has said over and over again that he wants his guys pursuing the puck.

  • Speed does matter, and Torts will let the afterburner guys skate their hearts out!

    The offense will be different next season should either Nash, Parise, or Rudalov for that matter be picked up. We played the type of game we did because we didn’t have the horses’ to play run, and gun, that can change.

    With the loss of Gabby for at least the first two months of next season, someone will get extra time on the ice, then upon his return, we could be absolutily outstanding with the likes of, either Parise, Nash, or Rudalov added to our line up.

  • Parise is a good player to have but the Devils won’t be letting their captain slip away from them and we have our captain already (AND they are very similar).

    Idea: sign Semin to replace Gabby to open the season, sign Prust, Deveaux, MDZ, & Stralman and when Gabby comes back you have:


    Give Dubi 30 games to see if it works

    • That’s a horrible idea. Semin? Deveaux? Neither add anything to the current roster, in fact they probably make the team worse.

        • Semin’s agent has already said he is leaving because he wants to go somewhere that will play him consistently big minutes.

          Also, he has the rep of not being a hard player, which is why Hunter cut his playing minutes. I doubt he wants to play for someone like Torts (and that’s probably a two-way street).

    • Sooooooo you’re suggesting signing a guy that is known to take not only shifts, but entire games off. Semin could never fit in with Torts system, neither could Radulov for that matter. The only thing the Rangers should be looking to do is add depth scoring. I like Nash, but he’s going to cost half the farm and that’s too much. Sign Parise? I’m totally against any and all former Devils playing in NYC, I have never seen it work. I’m not sure the Rangers don’t have what they need right in the system. Why not let Anisimov see first line minutes in place of Gabby for the first month and a half of the season and see if the work he’s been putting in to try and round out his game has paid off? Or slot Kreider for those minutes? Why does everyone think that the answers have to come from outside the organization? It was that type of thinking that lead to 7 straight years of missing the playoffs. These guys did just get to game six of the Eastern Conference Finals.

  • Alright, I’ll do you one better — bring back PA Parenteau to where he belongs for half the price of Semin

  • Speaking of the future when I look at the potential roster possibilities with the core we have it is tough not to get excited and yet it still demonstrates the importance of patience as this franchise keeps building a team for the ages, with excitement for many seasons to come. My thoughts are that we really only need to sign Justin Schultz for this coming season and in the draft any of the following players in the 1st round, Colton Scissions, Tom Wilson, Dalton Thrower or Henrik Samuelsson. It will be a great addition to the depth and core of the team.

    Stay clear of Semin, Weber, Suter, Nash or Parise in the FA pool. My reason is this 2013 offers a better year to make a splash with some pretty quality players available, notably Perry and Getzlaf.

    This Roster doesn’t need much tinkering. The FA we must sign are our own and Schultz and an addition like Gaustaad won’t hurt.

    The Roster I would like to see for next year is this with a taxi squad included

    Gabby, Richards and Stepan, yes move Gabby to Left and shift Stepan to Right wing

    Kreider, Callahan and Dubinsky, Yes Dubi centering this line

    Anisimov centering Hagelin and Thomas, This is dependant on how Thomas shows up in Camp. This kid better seize the opportunity and take the 3rd line RW spot

    Boyle centering Prust and Guastaad/Rupp

    Taxi squad Gaustaad/Rupp and Mitchell


    McDonagh and Girardi
    Staal and Sauer/Schultz
    MDZ and Sauer/Bickel
    If Sauer is unable to play then McIlrath has to also seize his opportunity and get into the fold

    Taxi Squad on D is Bickel and erixon

    Goalies Lundqvuist and Biron

    Now here is the key because in 2013 we should then go get us some Getzlaf

    and we have a team that doesn’t need much tinkering for years to come with players to step in from our prospect pool to replace departing players.

    I would rather have a year without Nash or Parise or making the news this year and instead would love 5 years of Getzlaf the following year

    • Getzlaf is a great player but he is an assist man — I would prefer someone who puts the puck in the net.

      • Who would you rather see? Getzlaf does much more than just assist on goals. He is tough, spirited, and also a Leader

        • I don’t know, I just see Getzlaf ending up like Thornton… (plays great, doesn’t win it all)

    • Leather

      If you’re going to move anybody to right wing than it should be Chris Kreider as it is a position he has played in college.

      Christian Thomas is not even close to the NHL ready, he struggled this past season and needs to work on his body as well as his consistency. You put that group on the ice and I’m going to put my most physical players against it.

      I would be surprised if Anisimov is still Ranger by training camp as his inconsistencies showed up huge in the playoffs and Rangers need someone more reliable as third line center.

      I still believe Tortorella had it right when he put Kreider with Stepan and Callahan. It’s a good mix of playmaker scorer grinder. They will play well off each other

      On defense, you might as well go into the season thinking Sauer will not be there because he won’t. McIlrath is barely 20 and the Rangers hopefully have learned from trying to rush Del Zotto and Erixon into the lineup.

      Expect the Rangers to dip into free agency to add a stopgap defender first season to allow the kids to grow

  • I like your idea, but I don’t know how it fits in with Tortorella’s plan. The Ranger fourth line seems inherently pointless. Torts doesn’t want to use it for spare parts, but doesn’t seem to want to give it a meaningful role either — so he won’t want Boyle, Prust down there.

  • I CAN’T AGREE MORE WITH THIS!!!! In fact, I have proposed the same thing in facebook pages . Hagelin produced very well on the 3rd line when he first came up, and that was with Mitchell and Feds.
    FA/Trade Acquisition-Richie-Gabby
    Hagelin-AA-Duby(assuming he isn’t traded)
    I’m not going to lie, and you my not like the idea but I am all of going after Radulov. He can play that top LW spot and is a great goal scorer!!! We can get him for fairly cheap and if it doesn’t work out we can trade him, bury him in the minors or just sit him. Its low risk and it gives us a chance to look at other FA in the future.

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