3 Stars of the Week: European Edition
Time to check out how our European prospects are doing.
The Rangers have decided to sell.
— TheBrothersBlueshirt (@BlueshirtBros94) February 14, 2018
We have not seen this in over a decade. However, as the NHL continues to get younger and faster, the need for youth has become more apparent and now the Rangers are fully embracing it. The Rangers are expected to receive a number of prospects and draft picks as part of the sell-off. In addition, the Rangers already have a number of interesting prospects that could crack the Rangers roster in the next few years. That being said, here are the 3 Stars of the Week: European Edition.
3rd Star: Patrik Virta
— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) February 10, 2018
Patrik Virta has continued to be a surprise development for the Rangers. The Rangers 7th round draft pick this past year has surpassed all expectations. In SM Liiga for TPS Turku, Virta has scored 32 points (12G, 20A) in 50 games. Virta has also shown a strong ability in the faceoff circle, consistently averaging well over 50% on draws. As I have mentioned before, I believe that Virta could challenge for a roster spot next season. This belief rings even truer now that the Rangers have committed to a rebuild. Although the Rangers have a plethora of “depth” players in their organization, Virta is one to watch as he has produced solid numbers in a men’s league already.
2nd Star of the Week: Igor Shestyorkin
Igor Shestyorkin’s (#NYR) mother Elena was interviewed by Championat and I’m sure people will like these answers…
“Which hockey team did he root for as a child?”
ES: “For the New York Rangers.”
“Who was his main childhood idol?”
ES: “This is goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist.”
— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) February 16, 2018
While Shestyorkin has not played much since his return from injury, The Czar was selected to the Olympic Athletes from Russia hockey team along with Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin. While both of them are currently acting as backups, Shestyorkin should receive some playing time in the near future. So far this season Shestyorkin is 20-4-3 in 27 games with a 1.77 GAA and .930 SV% for SKA St. Petersburg. While he will not be in NY next season, the Rangers goaltending future continues to look very bright.
1st Star of the Week: Lias Andersson
— Hartford Wolf Pack (@WolfPackAHL) February 15, 2018
Andersson is this week’s 1st Star because he has permanently (at least for this year) come to North America. Andersson showed enough in Sweden and the WJC to warrant a spot on Hartford’s roster for the remainder of the season. It remains to be seen whether or not Andersson gets a look at the end of the season. However, I fully expect Andersson to be called up with 9 games remaining in the season. So far this season Andersson has put up 6 points (1G, 5A) in 8 games with Hartford after scoring 14 points (7G, 7A) in 22 games with Frolunda.