A Look Inside the Pack: Jesper Fast
FAST TIMES AHEAD
The last time many of us saw Jesper Fast, he was playing for the New York Rangers. While Fast only had a cup of coffee with the big club before being sent down to the Hartford Wolf Pack, most were impressed with what they saw. Thought to be a long shot, Fast made the Rangers out of his first pro camp. What people didn’t get to gauge or see is what type of player Jesper Fast really is. After battling through an ankle injury in Hartford, Fast has returned and given fans what we all hope is a glimpse into a bright future.
A PLEASANT SURPRISE
During his time with New York, Fast was mainly a fourth line player, who was used in defensive roles and on the penalty kill. Truth be told, he was nothing more then a place keeper until Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan both returned from injuries. Some people look at that as a negative, but the fact that AV would give him a spot on the fourth line, in a defensive role no less, should speak volumes. It has been stated numerous times that AV does not trust rookies in that sense. Down in Harford, Fast has not only shown a good two way game, but also that he has a big offensive upside to go along with it.
The first thing that jumped out to me is how hard of a worker he is. Often times, offensive minded forwards tend to be lazy on the forecheck and in the defensive zone. That is not the case with him at all. Fast is a great skater that has good speed and acceleration. He uses that speed to get in on the forecheck to create chaos and offensive chances. Fast has good hockey sense, as you can see him anticipating plays on the ice instead of reacting to them. While Fast isn’t a physical player, he is very strong on the puck and has no problems going into the dirty areas to win battles. Although, the most outstanding aspect of his game has been his offense.
Since his return on December 20th, a span of 16 games, Fast has registered 8 goals, 4 assists for 12 points. Adding to his stats, Fast has 24 shots, a +5 rating, 4 power play goals, and 2 power play assists. He has mostly been playing on the first line with JT Miller and Ryan Bourque. In addition, he sees action on both the PP and PK.
Fast is a scary combination of speed and tenacity. The young Swede is a relentless fore checker and a solid two way player.The scouting report thus far is holding true. However, does Jesper have the size to compete and the NHL level? At the young age of 22 he still has time to work on it. Above all else he is a talent with great hockey sense that keeps him one step ahead of most players on the ice. It wouldn’t be hard to argue that he has been the best player on the Pack since his return. The jury may still be out on Fast, but his future sure looks bright!
Orignal post written by Will Cullen.