Oh Lias Andersson. Ye of young age, cannot legally buy a beer yet, and is the most polarizing prospect in the organization. It’s funny really, as the rookie played half a season with the Blueshirts, putting up 2-4-6 in mostly a fourth line role. The 7th overall pick is already the subject of ire from fans with little patience.
When the Rangers selected Andersson with the 7th overall pick in 2017, the expectation was that he could slide in right away and keep the Blueshirts relevant. That clearly was a mistake by management, and not by Andersson. The kid has excelled at all levels of hockey, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t succeed in the NHL when given more time.
And more time is needed, as he was clearly not ready for the NHL stage early in the year. He looked better as he got more time in the AHL and then was recalled, but he’s still a kid. But he did struggle mightily. He didn’t score much, and his xGF% was an abysmal 40.86%, 4th worst on the team (McLeod, Nieves, Howden). He generated no offense (1.75 xGF/60, 2nd worst to McLeod) and was middle of the road defensively (2.75 xGA/60, 8th on the team without Zucc/Hayes accounted for). You didn’t need stats to tell you this, nor will charts help cement this argument. The eyes and the stats match here.
The teammate that Andersson played most of his time with was Ryan Strome, but that was only for 127 even strength minutes. He didn’t spend more than 100 minutes with any other teammate. So that may be a part of the problem: Lack of chemistry. While certainly a possible contributor, Andersson still struggled. He did seem significantly less lost defensively when he came back up to the Rangers after his stint in the AHL though.
It’s tough to do a full report card on a rookie that bounced around the lineup and only played half a season. Andersson clearly needs a lot more time developing, which is perfectly fine. He can only get better, which is a positive and probably just me noting silver lining. I’m not overly concerned about him yet. He was a little less than expected, but perhaps we expected too much.
Grade: C"2019 Rangers Player Report Card: Lias Andersson",