NY Rangers 2019-2020 Player Report Card: Jesper Fast

Mr. Everything Jesper Fast did everything for the Rangers this year. On a true competitor, Fast is likely a third liner, but he spent the majority of his time this year with Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin on the second line. He turned out to be a perfect fit with them, as he did the little things, even if they don’t show up on the score sheet, that allowed Strome and Panarin to put the puck in the net.

In 69 games this year, Fast put up 12-17-29 while playing primarily with Strome and Panarin. On the surface, you’d like to see more production from Fast in that situation. The counterpoint here is that Fast does not play on the powerplay, which does limit his counting stats. His shot rates and his shooting percentage were around his career averages, for what it’s worth.

But again, Fast is an every-man because he does everything else right. He was a significant net-positive both offensively and defensively, something that shouldn’t surprise anyone that has watched him play for the past 7-8 seasons. The impact may be slightly skewed though, since he did spend the majority of time with Panarin. Generally speaking, as you spend more time in the offensive zone, there are more/better shots for, and fewer/worse shots against.

Looking at his season trends, Fast –like every other Ranger– had a very rough October/November. As the team started picking it up, his overall xGF% numbers improved as well. He stayed mostly above average until the trade deadline when injuries and trading Brady Skjei had a negative impact.

The best part about Fast’s game is that he is steady. He’s not flashy. He gets the job done, he will put up 30 points, and he does the little things you need to win games. The only knock is that his counting stats could be perceived as low, given who he spent most of his time with on the ice. If that’s the only knock, then that’s fine by me.

Grade: B+.

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  • For the role which he is MEANT to play he gets an A in my book. We’ve known for quite some time what type of player he is and in that regard he does not disappoint — ever. That said I would agree with a B+ grade if we’re looking at averaging offensive and defensive grades. If he’s reasonable with his demands for a new contract, especially in light of next year’s cap, he’s almost a no-brainer for me … not just for his on-ice play, but also for what he brings to the team off the ice and in the locker room.

    • I thought you were going to be like “Ralphie”:

      A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 🙂

      BTW, stay away from the negotiating table when his deal is up.

      • Not sure why you would say that. I’ve been on record that $3M is my max … still though, without a compliance buyout even that might not be achievable, too many moving parts. At the same time I firmly believe he will give a hometown discount and want to finish his career out here, his personality (from what I can tell) will mandate that — so in reality you do want me to negotiate this contract because I would squeeze him the same way Zucc got squeezed years ago. 😉

  • Quickie is a player you want on your team, just not on your 2nd line. If he is slotted on a third or fourth line, he is rather perfect to keep around at the right price. Those who might criticize his offensive production on the second line shouldn’t aim it at Fast, it is the coach’s choice to put him where he doesn’t really belong. The Rangers could sorely use their kid wingers to step up and push Fast back down the lineup.

    A good soldier and a quality guy, B+.

    • Peter I think there’s more to it. With 5 men on the ice, 2 of the 5 will always be SOL in terms of picking up points. Quickie takes on the primary defensive role for any line he plays on, he retrieves pucks, he applies pressure, he covers everyone’s back … he let’s Panarin, Strome and the d’men do their thing, his offensive value can’t just be measured in points.

      • All fair points Tanto, I don’t disagree. However, on your second line with the Breadman, ideally you want someone who does the things Fast does and can also put it in the net. Someone like Rick Nash.

        • Yeah, I wasn’t trying to suggest he’s the best possible compliment to Panarin, I was suggesting he’s the best one we have right now and it’s pretty damn good. Nash would have certainly filled the bill back in the day, but I’m not quite sure he would retrieve the puck as well as Quickie.

      • Continuing your point, if your defensemen are going to join the play, one of the forwards has to hang back – and typically one forward bears the brunt (often the right wing in Ranger systems). In particular, you don’t want Panarin worrying about it.

        I haven’t looked at numbers very carefully, but I think Panarin-Strome-Fast was the best line Panarin was ever a part of and so it is sort of silly to wonder what Panarin could have done with better line mates – what Strome and Fast did was let Panarin be Panarin.

        One thing the Rangers don’t need is to upgrade that line. Unfortunately, affording that line is another matter entirely. Something most seem to be missing is that Strome and Fast will not command nearly the salary they were expecting because of the pandemic because all teams will have less money. IMO, Strome’s best bet is to try to cash in in 2022, signing a reasonable cap hit two year Ranger contract and hope that two more years with Panarin really boosts his numbers. And Fast is likely not going to get a big contract anywhere else.

        • I don’t wonder what Panarin could do better with better line mates. I wonder what better line mates could do with Panarin. Put a couple of guys with good hands who are also strong defensively with the Breadman and that line would be a monster. Strome did well, and Fast is a sound player. But they aren’t a couple of all stars either.

  • “On a true competitor, Fast is likely a third liner”

    On the Rangers he’s a 3rd liner, but the coach doesn’t know it.

    I love the guy and his game, but force feeding him on the Panarin line is laughable.

  • Jesper is the consummate pro on the ice in the locker room he is exactly the kind of player and teammate you want to be around and you want around He is an A player always helps with and without the puck love him killing penalties

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