Rangers recall Libor Hajek

The Rangers have recalled defenseman Libor Hajek from the AHL. Hajek, the key piece in the Ryan McDonagh/JT Miller trade last deadline, has been struggling mightily in Hartford this year. In 58 games, he has no goals and just 5 assists while playing pretty bad hockey. There’s no other way to put that, although part of his issues may be age related, and it’s also his first pro season.

The fact that the Rangers recalled Hajek over John Gilmour, who is absolutely killing it in Hartford, is disturbing. Gilmour’s Rangers’ tenure will likely end after this season.

Show More
  • Rangers obviously looking to give Libor a fresh look. They have too much invested in him (former trade) to let him fail in Hartford. What is curious is that we did not hear of an injury, so someone must be in Quinn’s doghouse for the next game or 2. With Chytil probably sitting again, does this mean we go with 11F & 7 D again? Is Howden ready?

    • Agree, let’s see what we got on D… my sleeper crush is Morgan Barron at Cornell, excellent size, very good skater and is among the leaders in D-1 forwards. And he is just a sophomore. He’s arguably the best player on a ranked D-1 team.

  • Disturbing? Given the context, the path forward, the investment, it makes absolutely a ton of sense to do this. I mean — half of us keep pleading for the Rangers to give the young guys time and space to develop. And considering Quinn’s clear demand that the players learn to be professional and what it means to work hard, it seems smart to bring him in to be around the team and begin to experience some of that.

  • Seems like a guy named Lias was doing pretty crappy in Hartford too. Looks better up here. We’ll see if it’s the environment or the talent.

    • Sometimes I guess we need to show these players they are part of the future, even though their present value to their teams is less than perfect.

  • this call up is a counter to Larry Brooks article about how Hajek’s success is directly related to the success of the rebuild and the trade with Tampa.
    Helped only if the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Cup this season. That would be pick 3 in the first.

    Rangers gave up a lot to get this kid because they had to have him. Most likely to ensure there were other Czech players in the system like Chytil. Hajek’s failure isn’t an option.

    With that said, throwing this kid out there so he gets a taste of the NHL/speed and dedication required to become a mainstay on the roster is important. But limited, monitored and carefully handled as to not blow him out.

    He isn’t ready. So this is a cup of coffee for the youngster.

  • Gilmour is going to be 26 in 2 months or so and appears to be a career AHLer. One of those tweeners who is very productive one level down – similar in that regard to Peter Holland.

    Hajek’s poor play this season is very concerning. Rangers made him a big piece of the big Tampa trade based on one good 7 game run in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships. Most scouts seemed to think the Rangers were too high on him. That said he is 21 on hopefully struggled with the adjustment to the AHL, but he never really started improving this year. Will be interesting to see him play. Too early to say but the Tampa trade looks increasingly one-sided.

    • Every time I watched Hartford, Bigras was killing his D partners. The only way he’s a plus is that he’s making the quick change after he makes an end to end rush and can’t be bothered to get back.

  • What I fail to comprehend is how Hajek looked so good in training camp — he looked almost NHL-ready. Then I hear he’s been horrible in the AHL … puzzling, even though we’ve seen this before — a player playing better in a higher league than in the lower one (though usually it’s the case with some goalies).

    • That was my take on him as well. There seemed to be a point during pre-season where he made an adjustment to the speed of the game, and he actually started looking confident to me, with the puck and in his decision making. No idea what happened in Hartford since I haven’t watched him play there. This is a season where we have the luxury to bring up a guy like this and have a look, I like the move.

    • To be honest, we have not seen him in a higher league. Camp is not the NHL. It may even be that preseason games are at a lower level than NHL games. There are lots of players who are ready for the NHL and the veterans are getting into shape, not playing hard.

      What we have though is a player with a great pedigree who has not prospered (to put it mildly) in the Hartford environment. Assuming he is not a lost cause, what is needed is radical change and new coaches – take him out of Hartford and send him to NY or Maine. One might imagine the coaching in NY is better. Not clear how much he will actually play and how much time will be devoted to simple instruction.

      • Right, training camp isn’t the NHL … but it’s still a barometer. I’ve seen lots of real good AHLers make ZERO impression in an NHL camp though.

  • I dislike 90% of the coaches so I have no trust in them and feel some of the prospects get short changed as we have seen with AV and Mccilrath or AV and Buch or AV and Miller or AV and Dan Boyle or AV and Tanner Fast. Sorry the last one was the opposite. So much love for lac of talent.
    So it will be interesting to see if Hajek will play especially if the coach puts him in a place to fail like not playing him.

  • It may be that Gilmour’s Ranger tenure was over in any case. IF he thinks he has already earned a shot in the NHL, he has got to believe that the Rangers have given him a raw deal. In that case, being a UFA at the end of the season, he will seek out greener pastures. And a late season call-up does not count for much as he got that last year and it led to nothing.

    I would not say he is killing it in Hartford. The acknowledged best player on a terrible team can be pretty bad, maybe even the worst player on the team in reality (see Anthony, Carmelo). Dominant players make any team good and as Gilmour is -11, the team is not even good when he is on the ice.

    • I think bringing a newbie in to play first year pro for a truly terrible team probably does not bear fruit.

  • If Gilmour isn’t going to be here next year, Dave, why is it disturbing that he did not get the call? Seems reasonable since Libor Hajek is. Let him play with some real hockey talent instead of the scrubs in the AHL and see how he performs. I just don’t understand your thinking here.

    • I think you may be looking at this backwards. It’s disturbing because Gilmour is crushing it, and therefore would be the likely choice to bring up. Since he’s being passed over, it’s highly likely the Rangers aren’t interested in his development anymore and therefore will give him up in the summer.

  • The idea that the Rangers have too much invested Libor Hajek makes no sense to me. I loved McDonough and had hopes for JT Miller but considering what the Lightning had to shell out for both I’m fine if Hajek doesn’t pan out . Vlad is playing decent and Howden has promise. Miller is not worth 5.25M per year and McDonough got 7 year deal at 29? He ain’t no John Carlson. Good riddance. I thought Gilmour showed promise? Any chance we will see Cliff Ronning’s kid Ty for a few games? JT miller has all of 12 goals after his three goal hot streak – who needs him.

  • Back to top button