Rangers assign 4 for the Hartford playoff run
Rangers assign 4 for the Hartford playoff run

One of the more interesting, or face palming, stories to come out of the first week of training camp is that Libor Hajek has been paired with Braden Schneider as the first look third defense pair. Hajek has basically been written off as a possible option, and for good reason based on past performance. Yet here we are, with Hajek getting the first look over Zac Jones and/or Matthew Robertson.

In all fairness to Hajek, he hasn’t exactly been given opportunities with the Rangers since Gerard Gallant took over from David Quinn. Hajek got 17 games last season, mostly when the Rangers were dealing with injuries. The Rangers haven’t waived him, tried to trade him, or tried to give him any change of scenery. He’s collecting an NHL paycheck, which is nice, but he wants to play. To his credit, he hasn’t said anything or complained, something a few other prospects could have learned from.

That said, Libor Hajek just isn’t good. We just need to call a spade a spade at this point. He has improved, showing a little more confidence and at least improving from off-the-charts bad play, but he’s still just not an NHL player. This isn’t meant to be a slight or an insult, just an observation based on his 90+ games and looking at the results. But hey, maybe he’s improved significantly?

While Hajek may not be one of the worst statistical defensemen in the league anymore, he’s still bottom tier and not a viable option as a 7D, let alone a regular in a starting lineup. But the Rangers will give him a shot with Jones and Robertson to win that final defense spot. At the very least, Hajek will remain on the roster as a 7D, which still isn’t the best.

Hajek is likely going to be the new Greg McKegg this season, as we ponder why he’s still with the Rangers. You will have Libor Hajek, and you will like it.



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