Rangers repairing relationship with Lias Andersson – playoffs a possibility?

Per Johan Rylander, John Davidson is taking a personal interest in repairing the relationship with 2017 first round pick Lias Andersson. Both he and coach David Quinn have called Andersson in Sweden, stating that they are both interested in Andersson playing in the playoffs for the Rangers. Andersson had left North American hockey after a bad experience with the Rangers/Hartford Wolf Pack, and formally requested a trade after.

Repairing the relationship with Andersson should be a critical step in the Blueshirts’ offseason and playoff plans this summer. They spent the 7th overall pick in 2017 on him, and it would be folly to let this past season be the thing that ends that relationship.

There is fault on both sides, as the Rangers did not give Andersson a true shot despite clearly outperforming Brett Howden, being a better long term option than Micheal Haley, and being an actual forward as opposed to Brendan Smith. Andersson, who is still only 21 years old, had issues adjusting to this disappointment and developed bad habits. But it’s worth noting that players like Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, and JT Miller all struggled at that age, bouncing around different leagues before finally sticking with the Rangers.

The question I have isn’t about Andersson’s relationship or NHL readiness, it’s about where the Rangers would insert him into the lineup. The pending Brendan Lemieux suspension might open up a spot, same with the uncertainty regarding Kaapo Kakko’s pre-existing conditions. Smith playing forward seems to have run its course with the trade of Brady Skjei as well.

The last game the Rangers played had Steven Fogarty as the 4C, playing with Lemieux and Julien Gauthier. However Chris Kreider and Filip Chytil were both injured, which forced players like Brett Howden and Greg McKegg into the top-nine. It’s worth noting that Phil Di Giuseppe was also a top-line forward that game.

Let’s assume Kreider and Chytil are back in the top-nine. Fogarty is likely removed from the lineup, that’s an easy guess. Is it that simple as inserting Andersson for Fogarty (assuming a Lemieux suspension removes him from the lineup)? Probably not. After all, the question about Howden’s future as a center is certainly up in the air. Heck, Andersson’s future might even be on the wing.

Andersson can fit into the lineup right now, but it’s a question of whether the coaching staff sees that. The kid’s work ethic was never in doubt, with Quinn questioning his “pace of play.” July’s training camp will answer a lot of these questions.

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  • Give the kid a break. I recognise its the NHL and man-up, get your nasty on blah blah blah. But he’s 21. Playing in NY and frankly was jerked a bit by Quinny. Now I know most of us when we were 21 were mature, sophisticated, balanced men who could shoulder any set back and responsibility with the grace it deserved. Maybe Lias is less the man you/we were…so extend him the courtesy of forgiveness and lets see what we have.

  • Lias was mis-handled a bit and I’m still skeptical about Quinn and his young player development. But if Howden turns into a “good” two-way 3rd line center I would be convinced he’s an excellent coach. He obviously sees something in him that the analytics and visuals don’t match.

    So far, IMO, Quinn’s obstinance regarding Howden is confounding but we shall see…

  • As I mentioned yesterday, adding Lias is a good idea. It offers an olive branch, gets him practicing with NHLers and he may possibly get into the lineup and prove that he has skill. It is a win-win, especially with the expanded roster. Same hold for Vitali Kraftsov. Puts him with NHL players, shows him some love and whets his appetite for next year.

  • Lias isn’t an NHL hockey player at this stage of his career both mentally and physically. We need to move him and move on

  • Did he all of a sudden acquire NHL level skating ability ? Let alone able to keep up with the canes ?

  • I think it is rather obvious at this point that Lias won’t be handed a spot in the lineup just by showing up. If he plays his way onto the team, then that would be a good thing for everyone.

    • I don’t agree. Certainly no one here is advocating that the Rangers choose the best 28 players for their roster. And i really doubt that very many grasp the fact that the Rangers have a serious shot to win the Cup. so they may be unduly influenced by things other than fielding the best team.

      Choosing a team is hard. Before the season was interrupted, Sean Day was unquestionably both more physically talented and a better hockey player than Yegor Rykov. Yet Rykov was playing in Hartford and Day in Maine. Why? The Rangers deemed that Day had not learned to think like a proper hockey player and never would get better whereas they thought Rykov would get better and might actually amount to something. [I have no idea what probability they attached but it was higher than for Day.]
      There is a fair chance that Matt Beleskey is one of the sixteen best forwards the Rangers have, but he is not very good and has no future with the Rangers. I feel comfortable in saying he won’t make the team.

      • My point was that I believe that to get on the playoff roster Lias will likely have to play his way on. I doubt that they will want him there for the playoffs unless they think they can use him if needed.

        You think they are going to bring window dressing or ‘mascots’ on the roster when competing in the playoffs? In my opinion that would not be rational.

          • You must be one of those that thinks kravtsov played his way on too eh? Couldnt even earn a call up later after oodles of chances.

          • I think Howden was given a pass for whatever reason. But, it is not like they had a lot of choices.

          • No. You missed my point. There is no rational explanation as to why Howden made the roster and played as much as he did through the season. Both the naked eye and analytics prove that. Unless Krastov is playing with other skilled players (at least 3rd line) there is no point him being on the roster. Lias has a different skill set and would be fine on our fourth line with what we have now (incl suspended players).

            Very hard for a coach to preach accountability (and young players to accept that) when he keeps rolling Howden out there.

          • No, I am … he did play well enough to earn a spot on the team. He even played better than Kakko in the pre-season. That isn’t to say he was actually ready, but he should have been given a chance to sink or swim in the first 5-10 games.

        • I am saying that right now, Matt Beleskey is a better hockey player than Vitali Kravtsov and that this fact will not and probably should not influence anyone’s thinking.

          But all this is irrelevant. The 28 man roster is fixed before camp and it is actually 28 skaters and an unlimited number of goaltenders. With 18-19 forwards in camp, Kravtsov and Andersson are locks.

          • That may be true. But still be OK. one is in development and the other has like ten years exp.

      • I knew a couple of guys who played baseball together in college: one won the Golden Spikes and played 6 years in the show; the 2nd best player never made it past AA(he was supremely skilled, but didn’t give a shit)and the 3rd best has 2 years in the show because he had one skill: not swinging at a curve ball.

        The 3rd guy is the one still in Baseball.

  • On a related matter, Dave, what about including K’Andre Miller, Matthew Robertson or Nils Lundqvist on the playoff roster? Miller may be ineligible as his ELC starts next year and that may not be changeable – and it would certainly burn a year, but the Rangers have no depth on defense. Robertson’s contract would likely still slide.

    Not to say that these guys are already better than the other options, but they might be – the other options (except for Raddysh) are pretty bad.

    • Lundkvist isn’t signed at all. Miller doesn’t have his contract start until next season. Robertson’s contract slid, so I believe he can’t join the roster either.

      • In normal years, the eligibility list for the playoffs includes everyone who was on the 50 man roster or the reserve list at the trade deadline. So, as you recall, the Rangers could sign Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello after the trade deadline.

        I don’t see why Lundqvist is any different (except of course if they have special rules for this year). Miller is actually a tougher sell as they would have to sign him for this season and it is not clear that you can sign a player to an ELC if he already has an ELC.

        Robertson’s contract will slide unless he plays ten games.

        My two cents: the Rangers will carry ten defensemen – the six starters, Raddysh, Hajek, Rykov, and one more. The only other eligible Hartford starter is Nick Ebert. Abilitywise, speaking just for the present, Ebert is clearly behind Raddysh and I think in the Rangers’ opinion also behind Hajek (I am skeptical but my opinion doesn’t matter). If Ebert isn’t top eight anyway, it seems reasonable to pass him over for a prospect – Robertson, Reuanen or an unsigned player. Because of the compliations of bringing in a European player just to be in camp, I expect that tenth slot to go to Robertson.

        OR, if it is legal, Miller — to be signed a year early only if he plays.

  • The 28 man roster is really 24 legit NHL players and 4 “let’s see what they got” players. These last 4 practice hard with the team but never see the ice. It lets the coach know how “coachable” and hungry they are. I am all for putting just about any quality player in the last 4 slots.

  • DQ will play him 7 minutes a game with a brawler and a marginal winger and then complain he isn’t productive enough — oh I’m sorry, doesn’t play with enough “pace” — not that his foot issues might have had something to do with it.

    Unless DQ changes his attitude towards the player (and the player change his attitude towards DQ), this will be the same old story. I’m skeptical.

  • Why not? It’s not like the Rangers have a plethora of forwards/centers.

    Plus, DQ needs someone to get mad at, to keep his juices going.

    • The kid can’t play pal. It’s unfortunate but true. I hope they put Kravtsov on the Roster though.

      • Neither can Howden pal, but that does not stop the coach from playing him.

        I would love to see Krav here.

        Hope all is well my friend.

        • Everyone is good as I hope yours are!

          That’s what I was told about Pionk too. Seems like most were wrong about him too.

  • At that age, Zuccarello was scoring at a 1.16 ppg rate in Sweden where he was his team’s leading scorer.

    Lias is at 0.8 ppg, which would have him as the leading scorer for HV71 if he played a full season.

    Still worth repairing the relationship, even if it’s likely he tops out as a 3C.

      • He isn’t now nor has he ever been better than Howden. I know you don’t like the kid’s game nor DQ but Lias has no game and was a poor pick.

          • Howden isn’t the end all and be all. He has at least shown flashes of good play in multiple games. Lias score more goals off of his ass than with his stick. What about his game stands out to you?

          • Never said Anderson was the be all to end all. Would simply like the kid to get a legitimate shot after beating Howden out in pre season. Howden did not deserve the extended opportunities throughout the season. He played slightly better as a winger.

      • Neither of them should’ve been within a country mile of Broadway until next year.

        Let them thrive at lower levels, then push them up.

  • Get Andersson back in the lineup. Maybe even showcase him in the top 6. The Rangers are just trying to get the young guys some playoff experience. I personally don’t see the Rangers as a cup contender even in this wacky 24 team playoff setup. So let Andersson look as good as we can to the other 30 GM’s so we can trade him for something useful. To lose the 7th overall pick in any draft is not good asset management as we all know. Maybe we can manage to at least get back a top 30 or 40 draft pick in return for him.

    • Well now may not be the time to showcase him in the Top 6. lol In the first place that’s a big reward for someone who bolted from the team (rightly or wrongly) … and we may not advance far in the playoffs … but at least put the kid on the ice with two decent forwards and for more than 10 minutes per game. 😉

  • I think that Hockey’s Post is correct, play the kid, and hope that some other organization has an interest in him.

    Rumors are out there that the Oilers may want to trade for him, and give back JESSE PULJUJARVI. That would be a good deal in that both players get to start over again in new organizations, and Kakko gets a friend that speaks his language to run with. I’d make that deal in a heart beat!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I would like to give the kid a chance as well, but we’re overloaded on the right side as it is: Kakko, Buch, Kravtsov, Gauthier, Fast (who may or may not be here next year), Lauri Pajuniemi — we need to focus on centers and/or the left side of the ice, especially the left because after Panarin and Kreider (Lindgren on defense), we’re weak as f@#$.

      • tanto

        What people don’t realize is that the Kravtsov kid has indeed played all three forward positions, without much, if any drop off in production, at the KHL level. He also is defensively sound, and would be a nice addition on the left side, 3rd line, if you ask me.

        If your not happy with the PULJUJARVI return, maybe another player could be substituted, but what I read is that Lias is looking good to the Oilers, and has indeed tweaked their interest……………………

      • Czech

        That’s why a new team may work miracles for them both. Could their crap be better than our?????????????? We’ll see…

  • Anderson has shown little skill-set so far as a professional hockey player. Right now, he is not a goal scorer, and has shown, he is more of a cry baby then anything else. Enough already with blaming the coach. I’m not saying he can’t mature into a decent player that hustles, but I don’t really see a star. At 21, if he was genuine, there should be signs, and right now there isn’t much to get excited about. Toward the end of last year, we saw some encouraging signs of development in yes, Howden. With all the potential talent around, and this years loaded draft, I say we pass on from Lias, and get over it.

      • Start playing like a seventh round draft pick two years before, and you will earn the ice time and overcome all the excuses. Maybe the coach saw some character and attitude issues evident by throwing his silver metal away with team Sweden, and walking out of the AHL. Not to mention his sub-par playing.

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