3 Stars of the Week: European Edition, Jan 15, 2018
Struggles on Broadway
The Rangers have simply not been good enough in recent weeks. They have not won in regulation since the Nixon administration and are currently showing serious signs of dysfunction. Just yesterday, Elliotte Friedman said that he believed the Rangers were beginning to look at offers for some of the expiring free agents.
While it sounds like it is all doom and gloom for the Rangers, the Rangers actually have a few prospects to get excited about.
3rd Star-Igor Shestyorkin
Shesytorkin has not had a lot of action since his injury took him out of action for most of December. However, as I mentioned in the last edition of 3 Stars of the Week, Czar Igor was named a KHL All-Star for his first-half performance. In his KHL ASG appearance, the Czar channeled his inner Hank when he decided enough was enough with the number of opposition chances (jokingly).
Igor Shestyorkin's new technique of defending the net…it's certainly something unique.
At least he's guaranteed to earn shutouts. #hcSKA pic.twitter.com/3kP7g5NKeT
— SKA Ice Hockey Club (@hcSKA_News) January 13, 2018
In addition to his KHL ASG appearance, Shestyorkin also celebrated his 22nd Birthday and seemed to regain his top form with a 1-0 shutout win for his 5th shutout of the season.
Happy birthday to SKA goaltender Igor Shestyorkin, who has turned 22 years of age! Have a great day! https://t.co/uOEe5utmbX #hcSKA pic.twitter.com/k3RUKKA14q
— SKA Ice Hockey Club (@hcSKA_News) December 30, 2017
On the season Shestyorkin is 18-3-3 with 5 shutouts and a 1.78 GAA along with a .931 save percentage. Needless to say, the goaltending future in New York seems to be in good hands.
2nd Star-Lias Andersson
I’m not sure how this will be received by Andersson as he does not seem to have a thing for 2nd place.
Here is Lias Andersson tossing his ? into the stands. ? pic.twitter.com/oKvLGE0aIb
— Hockey Central (@HockeyCentraI) January 6, 2018
Ok, jokes aside, Andersson played extremely well while captaining Team Sweden to a Silver Medal at the World Junior Championships. Andersson led his team with six goals in the tournament while adding one assist for seven points in the tournament. Although Andersson played with high profile talents like Elias Pettersson and Rasmus Dahlin, Andersson showed the ability to score NHL goals.
LIAS ANDERSSON (@NYRangers, currently with @frolunda_hc) FINISHES HOME A BEAUTY OF A PASSING PLAY AND SWEDEN MAKES IT 2-0! THE USA IS LOSING BY TWO GOALS! pic.twitter.com/EI8mWWrR4Z
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) January 4, 2018
Andersson was consistently shielding the goalie and playing “The TJ Oshie” position on the PP in addition to showcasing his underrated wrist shot on multiple occasions. While the tournament did not end the way Andersson wanted, Andersson has a bright future with the Rangers and could possibly be a late-season addition to the team, especially if the Rangers are sellers at the deadline.
1st Star – Patrik Virta
Virta, the Rangers seventh-round draft pick in 2017 has had a very good season so far. As a late round pick, not much was expected from Virta, other than organizational depth. However, just like another Rangers seventh-round draft pick from 2016 in the North American edition, Virta takes home the number one slot in this week’s prospect review. Virta continues to drive play when he is on the ice. While not putting up overwhelming numbers (he’s not in a Junior League), Virta has been close to a point-per-game player after a rough start to the season. In his last two games, Virta has tallied three points (1G, 2A). Currently, he sits at 28 points (9G, 19A) in 40GP compared to 26 points (14G, 12A) all of last season. Based on his progression and ability to drive play, Virta could very well make a strong case for a bottom-six role on the Rangers, or at the very least a Wolfpack role.