The New York Rangers have sent down Lias Andersson…again. After playing in 21 games this season, Andersson will now be able to play on the top line of the Hartford Wolf Pack.
As Zak mentioned that part of the reason for the demotion is due to Cody McLeod and Jesper Fast returning to the lineup this weekend. There will be two debate topics here amongst fans.
One, the team burned a year of Andersson’s entry-level contract instead of letting it slide. Nobody wants to remember this, but Lias was called up out of necessity. At the time Brett Howden suffered what looked like a gruesome injury, Boo Nieves was still recovering from a preseason concussion. Vinni Lettieri was already on the team so there was no NHL talent to play in Howden’s spot. That is of course without completely shuffling the lines.
The team constantly faced injury problems at the forward position, whether it was McLeod breaking his hand, Namestnikov suffering a concussion, Buchnevich breaking his hand, Zuccarello with his groin, Fast with his upper body in jury (probably having too much heart), there was never a time where Andersson could be sent down before the slide. He stayed out of necessity, like it or not the team needed to fill an NHL roster and Cole Schneider (all due respect) is not the answer for that.
Second, that Andersson would grow more playing in the AHL. Look, the idea of getting a player more minutes is a wonderful way to help him grow. The problem with Andersson is that we already have seen how he plays in the A. In 14 games Andersson has 12 points (4 g, 8a). There’s no argument, playing on the first line in the AHL does not provide the same level of growth for Andersson as playing in the NHL bottom six.
As mentioned before, Lias is currently stuck on the fourth line and is averaging just under 11 minutes a game. If Lias would have stayed in the AHL with the Pack, he would’ve been averaging at least five or six more minutes a night, playing on the top power play, and also killing penalties. Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets spent his entire 20-year-old season in the AHL with the Jets’ affiliate, we all know how he turned out.This is the counter point made by our own James Van Casteren
Granted, in the A he can play on the special teams more and it is comparable, but there’s a reason the best player in the AHL is in the AHL and the worst NHLer is in the NHL. Having Lias play strongly against the minor league talent, would be like Ninja playing me in Fortnite. He’ll be able to show off some cool things and will always win, however the challenge won’t help him become a better player.
Lias Andersson is the perfect example of the New York Rangers, he’s too good to not see the desired results (top six minutes). Yet he isn’t quite ready to be exactly where he needs to be. Just remember Rangers fans that at least for now, a player of Cody McLeod’s caliber will be playing over Lias. Let’s see how long the fanbase’s leash is with him.