Prospects

Pressure Drop – How the offseason takes the pressure off Lias Andersson and others

“Pressure’s gonna drop on you.” Whether it’s Toots and the Maytals or the Clash, there’s a clear message for guys like Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, and Brett Howden given the additions of Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov to the New York Rangers lineup. It’s a nice feeling to have, and helps settle down some of the misgivings about the early stages (remember 2017? such strange times) of this rapidly fading rebuild. Even on defense, Jacob Trouba’s fresh face on the depth chart makes things much easier on guys like Tony DeAngelo or the assorted youngsters coming up through the system this coming season and certainly the following. Whatever your thoughts are on the quality of the Rangers’s prospects up and down, they’re certainly a bit less under scrutiny, at least in the foreground, than they were before.

It’s understandable why some had issues with the Blueshirt’s selection of Lias Andersson. He was exceptionally safe as a high-first-round draft pick, with the big reason for taking him being that he was more NHL-ready than others. Although the Casey Mittelstadt comparisons have subsided, it’s still not phenomenal that he … wasn’t NHL ready. Same thing goes for Brett Howden, part of the blockbuster trade with Tampa Bay – he’ll need some time to adjust for sure, but luckily he’ll have the room to do so under less of a spotlight than he would’ve had on him otherwise. The only player from that crop who hasn’t garnered much criticism, although his numbers might spur some light skepticism, is Filip Chytil.

Chytil will most probably blossom into a top-six forward at some point either this season or the next, while Andersson and Howden take a bit more time. One way or another though, it’s less critical that they come through to the height of their potential. It’s obviously ideal if they do, but if those guys don’t quite hit their ceilings in every facet of their game, well, we’ve still got Kaapo Kakko, among several other (!) high-quality scoring threats. I

t’s a nice position to be in, and as much as this shifts pressure off some of the youngsters, it’s not a ton of scrutiny for Kakko, Kravtsov, and Panarin either. The former two players will get the benefit of the doubt in their rookie seasons, and Panarin is a proven superstar. All is quiet in Rangerstown, suddenly.

Even on defense, things are looking much more placid. Jacob Trouba is your new number one, and the defensive prospects behind Tony DeAngelo and Adam Fox (Rykov, Hajek, Lundkvist, and Miller) can develop slow and steady as the Rangers figure out some addition by subtraction on the blueline. That’s a big relief as well, and it can’t be overstated how much that’s going to help the kids’ development.

As far as the season goes next year, whatever happens, happens. If the Rangers somehow sneak into a playoff spot (I still think they will, and will do some damage) then great, springtime hockey! If not, they’re in the lottery zone at the most stacked draft in a short/medium-sized generation. The tense atmosphere and heavy apprehension that fills the air at the onset of a rebuild has dissipated rapidly, and now we get to have some no-pressure fun. A pressure drop indeed.

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36 Comments

  1. I disagree with regards to Lias. He is moving down the depth chart at an alarming rate. If he does not make the team out of camp, he will feel pressure to achieve more. While this is not a bad thing, he needs to show some value next season or the “bust” moniker will be following him all around.

    1. The scout that followed Lias Andersson promised the Rangers staff that the kid was a sure fire NHL stud. Supposedly he was that scouts going away present to the Rangers. They were led to believe he was NHL ready.
      As far as pressure goes for next season, I think the most is going to fall on our 2nd year Head Coach. He showed last year that he could manage the young kids well. However, this season is going to come with near playoff expectations. He’s going to have to manage some veteran star players.

      The Metropolitan division is all rebuilding (save for Pit & Was) around the same time as the Rangers. The Flyers, Devils, Canes, and CBJ all have young teams with speed. The landscape is going to change dramatically over the next few.
      Let’s hope the impending player strike doesn’t ruin everything because it should be fun having a renewed rivalry with the Devils and Islanders.

  2. All the kids will have the pressure taken off of them by the Panarin and Trouba acquisitions. That said, the 2nd year players need to understand that there is a new crop of rookies looking to take over their jobs. Chytil, Howden and Andersson all need to show progress or Kraftsov and Kakko will have a shot at being top 6 players over the sophomores.

    To me, Buch and Zibby and even Krieder will feel less pressure. Also hoping that Skjei now can play his game, knowing he isn’t a 1 man show in the back. Is it time for the Traverse Tourny yet?

  3. I keep hearing how “stacked” this draft is going to be. Is there anyone in it as good as McDavid or Matthews?

      1. Don’t need him anyway if he doesn’t have a good tag line like “lose for Hughes” or “wacko for kakko”

        “fall on your deriere for lafreniere?” meh

  4. Pressure on scale of 1- 10(highest)

    Chytil 6 (obviously hes a top 6 talent , needs show he has 2c potential)

    Howden 4 – at minimum hell be 4c , if 23 points is his starting point thats pretty good. ( a pick 27)

    Lias 10. Prob has most pressure in this camp . would not be a great look to be beaten out by boo nieves or lettieri. Im not even setting the bar that high just has to show more o zone presence than he has thus far.

  5. I have a funny feeling that Andersson is going to surprise some people this year — he may never live up to that #7 hype, but I think this is the year he puts to bed these “he’s going to have a hard time making the team” comments.

    1. I certainly hope some people are surprised, but sadly we can’t count on it. I expect to see him back in Sweden in a year or two, while most (I think) here see him emerging as a solid though not exceptional player. Unless we all continue to insist in living in our own bubble, somebody has to be surprised. That unless is pretty big though.

      Seriously, it is very difficult for a #7 draft pick to fail to make the team. I think he will be on the team and that it will be an incorrect decision. The real question is whether he will be a better forward than people here think Staal is a defenseman.

      1. If you do an exercise and look back at prior first rounds and top tens, its scary how many players either don’t make it or are marginal players. Just underscores how hard it is to crack the NHL . wtvr you did in junior or Europe isn’t nec gonna fly (right away ?). So it pays to have some perspective especially when nyr are collecting a lot of first rounders of late.

      2. Exactly!

        Lias is going to have pressure = 11!

        He probably already does. He better be feeling it and NOT be calm and confident in making this team. I do feel he will make the cut in a questionable, yet face-saving gesture. But I don’t expect him to avoid Hartford either. He had trouble staying on the roster last year and now it’s even tougher for him.

        Even if he’s not all the way there yet, he needs a big camp this year. Needs to show big improvement in a lot of areas. I don’t see him making the roster if he is only marginally better than he was last season.

        IMHO, it’s going to be Howden who surprises in camp again with his improvement. Just a hunch…

  6. Pressure is on some guys to prove their value. Take Boo Nieves for example. If he does not make the cut, I am thinking his chances with the big club diminish. Same hold true with Lettieri. On the defensive side, I can see all of the kids, including Fox, feeling the need to show their value at the NHL level. This club needs to be more than just competitive this year, they need to contend for a playoff berth.

    1. I always say “Boo will be back” each time he gets sent down. I continue to think that will be true. I expect Boo to have a fine career as a call-up but unlikely full-timer. He’s one of those guys coaches seem to just feel okay about if there isn’t pressure to check out a meaningful prospect.

      I do hope he will take the next step at some point and land a steady 4th line role someplace though, I like his style.

  7. Lots of pressure articles lately. Is BSB feeling the pressure to produce content during these dog days of the off-season?

    Jk! Love you guys.

    I think Lias is still feeling the pressure. He knows his draft position, knows how management hyped him up, and knows he made some big statements himself, and by all accounts a pretty competitive guy intrinsically, so he’s got to be pushing to make some real career headway here.

    1. Lias will play himself off of the big club in the first 15 games. He adds no value on the ice. He is the single worst move the NYR made in the last 3 years. He may even change his number to 00 to show everyone what a bust he is.

      Chytil has shown flashes of talent, but he too has a lot to prove. All of the rookies from last year’s team need to step up or get outta the way, because the “K” boys want your ice time.

  8. i’m tired of trashing Lias. I hope he can have a decent NHL career but I have my doubts.

    His supporters complain that he is unfairly tagged with out sized expectations because he was picked 7th. However the main reason his supporters got on the Lias train in the first place was because he was picked 7hth; and hyped as NHL ready. He clearly does not have elite talent, skating or puck skills, but hopefully can carve out a meaningful middle 6 role. Seems like if there was a draft redo he would be a 2nd round pick. And if he was picked in the second round there would not be this constant – is he good or not discussion. He’s be another decent prospect or may or may not make it.

    In general each team’s local media and blogs hype the local prospects and the fans buy in. When the national media evaluates prospects most fan bases think their local team is getting dissed. It’s a running joke already among the national media, with the constant refrain from the fans: “why do you hate my team”.

      1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, not because of Lias, but because of the subject matter of the article.

        I was imagining the disparaging comments about Lias from some of his “fans.” lol

  9. Enough already with the kid being a bust. He is only 20 years old, had to adjust to a smaller rink, and style vs the European game. I suspect he will have a much better season this year because the kid is determined. Give him a chance to mature and see what he can do before we write him off!!!!!!!!

    For the benefit of this organization, I hope he makes a lot of people eat crow this year…….

    1. Exactly Walt. Some players take longer to develop. He might be one of them. He’s only played 49 games so far. There’s still time for him to get better.

  10. Don’t forget, Bush (although he had some nifty moves) didn’t show much a couple of years ago. I myself wrote him off as a bust. The second half of last year, he began to blossom. Let’s hope Anderson does the same. So far, in plain English, he stinks on ice, and has shown little offensive skill, but it is possible he may mature. In all honesty, I don’t see it happening, but who knows. We don’t need another Jasper Fast type player who I think is okay, but over-rated.

    1. Actually we do need another Jesper Fast, the guy has won 4 straight Players’ Player Awards which tells me the players respect his play a lot more than the fans — I’ll trust their judgment over the “fans” any day of the week.

  11. I would hope we get a little more out of Anderson a first round draft choice then the amazingly talented Fast and his 10 goals.

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