Can Carl Hagelin Become A Star?

Rebecca Taylor/MSG Photos

Rebecca Taylor/MSG Photos

Swedish-born winger Carl Hagelin was drafted in the sixth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers, if they knew then what kind of player he is now, they would have known that pick was an absolute steal.

After playing with the University of Michigan for his college career, his team lost the 2011 NCAA final game, and the Rangers signed him to a professional contract. He joined the Connecticut Whale for the AHL playoffs.

Hagelin made his debut on November 25, 2011, registering an assist on a goal by former Ranger Brian Boyle. The next day, he notched his first goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Since then, Hagelin has really found his game, and has become a vital part to the Rangers’ offense. He brings speed, talent, and flair to the table, which are all things that fit perfectly into the system of head coach Alain Vigneault. In the shortened season in 2013, Hagelin went 10-14-24 in 48 games played. The season that just passed, he had 17-16-33 in 72 games played. Certainly not superstar numbers, but numbers that have given him the recurring opportunity to stay on the roster and not lose his spot.

The main question that comes to mind when talking about Hagelin is “Can he take his game to the next level?” He is a good player at the moment, but does he have the potential to be a VERY good player? Like someone who could put up 50-60 points in a single season?

He definitely has the speed to do it, and he also has a clutch gene, scoring a big first goal in game four of the ECF against the Montreal Canadiens en route to their OT victory:

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usS9A0QQaXo”][su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltD9PgPBa7o”]Game Seven Highlights – [/su_youtube]

It’s goals like this that prove why a player of his caliber is so vital. He has the quickness and agility that will exploit almost any defense, and he has the skill to finish plays off.

If Hagelin can find a way to do this on a regular game-to-game basis, the Rangers will cherish him for years to come, but taking his game to the next level is only up to Hagelin, we can only talk about it.

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