Looking at Lias Andersson as the 3C

Let me tell you how excited I am for 90% of the people here to read the title and then comment “Howden is the 3C” or some variety of that. I truly can’t wait for comments filled with that. It should be known that outside of his hot start, Howden was demonstrably worse than Andersson in every facet of the game. But I’ll get into Howden’s chances at 3C in a later post.

Outside of the blue line, the most talked about position on the Rangers is the center position. With Mika Zibanejad cemented in as the 1C and Filip Chytil likely the 2C, the focus is on Lias Andersson as the 3C and Brett Howden as the 4C. While this is going to change many times throughout the year, it’s my guess that this is how the season will begin.

Andersson is, for some reason, hated as a 20 year old because he was the 7th overall pick and didn’t make the jump to the NHL right away. He’s not a perfect prospect, but still projects to be a middle-six/bottom-six center. He’s 20 years old, and will turn 21 around the second week of the season. There’s room to grow in the right environment, and he can only get better.

Andersson has struggled, but he’s also progressed and looked better with each recall. It’s also expected that he will get better linemates this season, as the offseason has bolstered the Blueshirts’ wing depth substantially. Instead of spending most of his time with Ryan Strome and his poor peripheral numbers and inflated SH% that will likely crash this season, it’s possibly Andersson spends a good chunk of time with players like Brendan Lemieux and Vitali Kravtsov. That’s a significant upgrade in skill and should have a positive impact on Andersson.

Here’s the thing though, Andersson was a net-negative both offensively and defensively. Offensively he was a black hole, but defensively there was a significant improvement from the prior year, and his time with Hartford to focus on that aspect of his game appears to have paid dividends. This is just a 42 game sample though, so take it with a grain of salt.

But it’s all about how Andersson plays this year, and how he comes into camp. He showed improvement, but still had a long way to go before he becomes a viable 3C. His skating needed work, his positioning needed work, and he needed to use that brain of his a little better, both offensively and defensively. All this comes with experience, and there’s a reason why he was a top-ten pick in 2017. The tools are there. He will need time to put it all together.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s not all going to come together this season either. It will be Andersson’s first (likely) full season at the NHL level. He’s going to be streaky. He’s going to have flashes of brilliance. He’s going to make boneheaded mistakes. That’s part of the rollercoaster ride of the rebuild and the kids getting more playing time and growing. The great offseason has perhaps set expectations to be higher than they should. The Blueshirts will be fun to watch, but until the kids grow into their roles, they won’t be a good team. This is still a team in transition.

"Looking at Lias Andersson as the 3C", 4 out of 5 based on 27 ratings.
Show More


  1. Strome or Namesnikov will be the 3C with Lias being the 4C. Howden will move to a wing and Boo won’t be on the team.

    Lias still needs to show why he should make this team.

  2. Lias will be lucky to make the team…nevermind the 3C. I put Boo at the 4C before Lias

    1. Why? Nieves is terrible. Andersson needs playing time in the NHL, especially over a spare part like Nieves.

        1. Maybe, but I don’t think he’s in the teams long term plans and he definitely shouldn’t be playing over the more important parts of the future.

    2. you’ve gone over the deep end pal.

      Boo sucks and is not an NHL player. Lias would play over him simply because he’s a 7th overall pick and Boo is not.

      1. Lol ….Trouba and Boo are UM teammates….come pal…Lias hasnt done a dam thing yet

        1. and he really hasn’t been given a chance.

          I like Howden but he did nothing for months, and yet gets a pass.

  3. The Boston incident where he didnt even fight back wrote him off for me….Kid needs a kick in the ass. The medal thing was bad

  4. Don’t think that NYR are ready to give up on their 7th pick of the draft just yet. He will get significant opportunities to show his value this year. Whether he is the 3C, 4C or bottom 6 winger, he will get chances in pre-season and the early part of the year.

  5. Howden is way better than Lias…skating IQ ….you see Howdens talent out there. He came straight from juniors to a bad NHL team

  6. I beg to differ on what you said about Howden Dave, Howden looked pretty good down the stretch when he came back from a forced rest due to injury. That said Andersson is young and developing, I have no issue with trying him in a 3C role and moving Howden to the wing — or not.

    I think he’ll be bouncing around the lineup between the 3rd and 4th line all season, but this isn’t last year’s team so the 4th line should be able to get a more reasonable share of playing time given the upgrade in quality players — and more importantly Andersson should be killing penalties to increase his involvement in the game — something DQ waited almost the whole season before trying. I think his skating suffers with only 8-9 minutes of playing time since he’s not a naturally great skater.

  7. It’s been said before, but it still bears repeating: If we had picked Chytil at #7 and Andersson at #16, it would be viewed as a decent draft, even though we picked the same two players. Chytil’s numbers are right there with players picked around 7 that year, and Andersson’s are close to those picked around 16. We just picked in the wrong order. Second, let’s not forget: We’re still rebuilding. There is going to a lot of shuffling in the lineups, as we try to fit the pieces together. There are almost certainly still trades going to be made before the season starts, players coming and going. At this point, hypothesizing about anything beyond the top line and possibly the first defense pair is guesswork, pure and simple.

    1. I like your draft analogy there Joe and totally agree with your hypothesis.

      When speculating about who is better and who goes on which line – just remember it does not matter….yet.

      Whoever it is that shows up at camp is going to be arriving on the ice with a clean slate and a chance to impress. From Hank, to Trouba, Staal, Shatty Rykov, to Vladdy, Boo, Kravtsov, Howden, Strome to Igor and some kid from Finland.

      If they are Ranger’s when camp opens it is Day 1 all over again.

  8. No problem with with either player at either 3c or 4c. Assuming Kreider in, Strome/Names out…

    Fast – Anderson – Kravsov
    Lemieux – Howden – McKeg/Nieves/ x

    I like Fast’s experience and responsible defence with Kravsov, and Lias seems like a more natural center for those two. I prefer the pairs of Anderson-Fast / Lemiuex-Howden. Let the better performing pair play with Kravsov on the 3rd line.

  9. Namesnikov not sure will be around at the start of the season, Rangers to make a move soon in the upcoming week or so to clear up some space.

      1. There is interest but not sure if anything will happen with LV. However, JD wants a player to protect the kids and we might see another move for a d men, another move is coming for sure very soon………..

        1. Anything new on the Kreider front? I would rather keep Namestnikov over Strome, but it is what it is.

        2. We will def have team toughness with Trouba Lemieux and ADA but it would be nice to have a guy who can legit swing em….Reaves would be a score

      2. Reeves makes 2.8 mil in the upcoming season so he is not a possibility until the following season.

  10. Lias doesn’t belong on an NHL roster, much less as the 3c for the Rangers. Lias may not even be the best center in Hartford and I am not sure we even have another center there. This is all not his fault of course because he isn’t the one who drafted him 7th overall. Clark did. Boo is a mich better 4c option. Lias at this point is trade fodder and may best serve the Rangers that way.

    Howden is significantly better as a prospect and showed it last year until fatigue and injuries got in the way. After his last injury, he came back strong and had a good 10-15 game stretch at the end on what was a really bad NHL team.

  11. you get 2 thumbs up 1. for your disclaimer and 2. for your true understanding of your audience. I am fine with Lias as 3 C and I agree with better talent we will hopefully get a better result. I also think with Kakko, Kravtsov and Panarin coming in, Andersson, and Chytil to a lesser extent, will be less in the spotlight and that will be helpful in their develpoment

  12. Lias has training camp to prove his value. If he does not step up and Boo does, he spends more time in the AHL. If Lias does not make this team out of camp, can we finally all agree he is a bust?

    1. I don’t believe Lias is a lock to even make the roster this year…. let alone 3C. But I do believe they may let him make it to not embarass him further and to try and retain his value.

      I’m not arguing for Howden over him either. But Lias to me needs strength in almost every part of his game. He looked small to me out there. Most glaring to me was the way he was man-handled on the boards in most 1-1 battles. There were times he was just nudged, and he lost the puck in the corners. Zucc is small too, but was stronger than Lias and much quicker/craftier to avoid the problems. Maybe that comes as Lias gets more experience. But he needs to show big improvement in camp this year, IMHO.

      He had issues with playing time last year, and deservedly so. The roster is deeper this year, so that’s why I doubt he is a lock to make it. The spot is probably his to lose again just because we’re short on centers. But he was not playing NHL level hockey last year… sorry to say. I’m not even sure he would’ve dominated the NCAA last year, and a #7 pick with pro experience should dominate there.

  13. It’s kind of silly to speculate about Howden vs. Lias at this juncture, other than to provide something to debate as we approach the dog days. They both were objectively bad last season but Howden showed he was the superior skater, and Lias showed that he will likely never live up to his draft status. That said these pronouncements about what they are cannot be taken seriously. They both may never develop into being very good, or they both might become good middle six players. Let them battle out on ice as to who deserves the first shot at being the 3C.

      1. Because Truth hurts. Fast and the coach sucked but they have defenders.

  14. There’s a lot more to the center position than just assists and goals. Metrics and analytics show Howden didn’t just suck he SUCKED! Center ice defensive responsibilities in both ends are crucial. Quinn has said he doesn’t think Chytil will play a ton of center ice this season, I wonder why? Chytil is potentially a great player but I think Quinn sees him on the wing.

    There was something is Lias’ game that made him a top 15 prospect in 2017. He was pretty good on the international stage as a junior and many center icemen need time to develop as a pro. Maybe he’s a bust, maybe in a year or two he’s the 2C, with Chytil a great winger. I think that he’s not a bust and his hockey acumen and skill will show.

    1. Your right Howden played the same amount of games as Fast and had 3 more points than Fast. But Howden sucked and Fast does not. Fast was stuck with quality players and Howden did not.
      Fast did not JUST suck but SUCKED!!

      1. How did Fast get into this equation? What is your obsession with Fast, are you upset that he didn’t score more points? Fast is not the bum you profess him to be. He’s not flashy he’s a Jan Erixon clone that does some good things. If you check his analytics you’ll see he was better than most of his teammates at possession, as his CF%rel shows. And when he was on the top-line (as you hate) wing most of the time he was the winger on the defensive draw. Get over your hatred, he doesn’t deserve it.

        1. I do not hate Fast though he is the instrument I play when showing the blind love for bad. I see Hypnotic fondness for and anchor who created no offense and was offensive to common logic. You proved my case with Howden and how bad he was and Fast had worse stats and played with better players.
          What Fast did was to handcuff good players and make their stats go down while he had possession stats , hip hip hooray. You have the puck and can’t score or assist in a score.
          I hope he is better this year. Or again game in and Game out I will be letting everyone know what suck looks like again.

        2. Don’t mind him, it’s some form of irrational tirade he likes to go on every few of days.

          1. Knowledge can not deceive but perception can! What you think is irrational is your point of view. Math does not lie. And you know what they say about points of views{bungholes}, everyone has one and they stink.

          2. To suggest that Fast sucks is unreasonable. You can’t blame the player for where the coach plays him. He’s clearly a bottom 6 guy and in that role he’s just fine. Again you don’t win the Players’ Player Award 4 years in a row if you SUCK.

  15. I may be the odd man out, but I see Andersson beating out Howden for the 3C position. Howden on the wing, and probably Boo as the fourth line center. Time will tell who is right or wrong, but whomever gets the 3C position will have some decent players on his wing, a vast improvement over last year!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Prospects take different times to develop.
    Howden came straight from the US/Canadian smaller rink size and played the North American game.
    Andersson played on larger ice surfaces and played an European/International game.
    I am far from calling Andersson a bust and VERY willing to let him develop. Not everyone makes that transition seamlessly.
    I still think he’ll be a very good center. What line he’ll center depends on factors other than just himself. There are other talented prospects that will vie for second and third center position.

  17. Holy sh-t, the comments on Lias are amazing, lol.

    Granted he’s not a 7th overall selection or talent, but to say that he’s not an NHL player at this stage of the game is ludicrous.

    Have some milk and cookies and, as Stepan said to Henrik, “relax.”

  18. Dave,
    Thank you for personally keeping the Ranger talk alive in this dead period. There’s not much going on but your articles. We all appreciate it.

  19. this is a prime example of where fancy stats fail. how can you possibly tell me that a player with 23 points had a worse year than a player with SIX points. lias at .976 shots per game, howden at 1.12. I don’t care what the heat maps (however those are tracked) say, or howdens defensive zone issues, he is ten times the skater lias is. he sucked defensively last year? well I cant remember lias with substantial time in the o zone last year.

    anyway back to the ice surface: we are short at center (assuming one is moved before season) so we do need both right now, so this year shouldn’t be a referendum on either – hopefully both take steps forward. (ie if we got jack hughes maybe id say they were playing for one spot)

  20. I remember so many saying how ADA sucked and was never going to make it, but eventually things started to click for him.

    I believe that we are liable to see the same thing happen with Andersson. He was good in Sweden and hight regarded. I think that the smaller ice surface and the much more physical character of the play in the NHL were things that he wasn’t quite ready for when he first came to the club. I am optimistic because he had demonstrated a high hockey IQ in Sweden and because the kid works hard and is very determined. Also, I am optimistic because there was notable improvement in his game when he came back for his second stint last season.

    I look for him to continue to improve. It might take a little while longer, but I am optimistic that he will make it in the NHL. Sure, I could be wrong, but I think there are a lot of reasons to think that we haven’t seen his full potential yet.

    1. not a perfect comparison since tony d did have 14 points in 39 games with phx. 60 shots. so not a question of skill rather his cerebral cortex.

  21. I have felt Andersson is at his best when he is playing angry. There were a couple of shifts I recall where he was throwing the body, being tenacious in the corners, and really seemed to be playing with a chip on his shoulder…and it was beautiful. The unfortunate part is that it was just a few shifts, but he is only 20.

    I absolutely LOVE the idea of a Lemieux – Andersson – Fast checking line, possibly the 4th line. They would have enough skill to put the puck in the net, and all three of them are hustlers who will be a pain in the a$$ to play against.

    That would shift Howden up to 3C, or Strome, or Namestnikov pending any moves. It is hard to project the lines without knowing the fate of them, or Kreider. Time will tell.

  22. Brett Howden should be given a chance to compete for 3C, not Lias Andersson.
    Howden showed a lot more last season than Andersson, and he has a high ceiling than Andersson.
    So far, Lias Andersson is a bust, the kid has no tools to play in NHL.

Back to top button
Skip to toolbar