Ever since the arrival of Martin St. Louis at the trade deadline, he has been placed on the New York Rangers‘ 2nd line with buddy Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin. Now, the chemistry between St. Louis and Richards goes back to their days in Tampa Bay, so those two are definitely good together, but it takes a third forward to make a line work, and Hagelin just is not it.
In the four games St. Louis has been on the Rangers, Hagelin always seems to be right on top of him, which leads to confusion and then to turnovers. While St. Louis is very vocal on the bench towards his linemates, Hagelin just has not gotten on the same page and needs to be replaced.
Normally, I would like lines to stick together in order to develop chemistry, because a lot of times, it does not happen over night. However, with only 16 games left on the season, and with the Rangers trying to hold onto a playoff spot, there is just no time to wait for lines to click. A change needs to be made.
My suggestion is to swap Hagelin with Chris Kreider, who currently plays on the Rangers’ top line. The Rangers’ 1st line of Kreider, Derek Stepan and Rick Nash has been rather quiet for the greater part of this month and may be good for a change as well.
Whether this switch is the answer or not remains to be seen, but with the Rangers needing points to stay in a playoff spot, and coming off of a dreadful 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last game where the Rangers’ looked asleep, it won’t hurt to try.