There’s been a great deal of buzz around the New York Rangers this summer for multiple reasons, but none bigger than the acquisition of Rick Nash. Between Nash becoming a Ranger and the playoff emergence of Chris Kreider, quickly prompting predictions about his future, Carl Hagelin has quickly fallen under the radar for this team.
Hagelin had a solid year in his rookie season with the Rangers. He appeared in 64 games and tallied 38 points (14 G, 24 A) and added some physicality to the mix as well.
Unfortunately for Hagelin, his most well known moment from the 2011-2012 season was one he’d like to forget. He was hit with a three-game suspension in the postseason against the Ottawa Senators for a hit to the head of Daniel Alfredsson. He missed Games 4-6 of that series, but went on to appear in the remainder of the postseason with the Rangers.
Obviously, Hagelin’s biggest asset is his speed. He’s one of the fastest skaters in the game, and that element alone has the potential to make him one of the more exciting players to watch. The fact that the 5’11″ Hagelin plays much bigger than he actually is adds to the intrigue surrounding him.
We know he possesses great speed. But where is his ceiling? That question gets especially bigger with the acquisition of Nash, which means Hagelin won’t be back on the top line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.
As it stands right now, Hagelin is likely going to be a third liner for this team, at least to start the year. He has a solid two-way game, so his defense isn’t a concern. But how will his offense hold up when he’s not playing with top tier talent?
Even without guys like Richards and Gaborik next to him, I’d still expect Hagelin to pick up the points. A 20-goal season could easily be in the cards for him, and it could be higher if he forces his way back into the top six. Even when he’s not scoring, his great speed should help him to generate some offense for the Rangers. He won’t be a guy to score 40 goals, but he’s going to be a constant contributor in the offensive side.
One thing is certain. Carl Hagelin is going to be a very exciting player to watch for the Rangers and is one of many young players that are making up a very strong core for this team.