Rangers should make Andersson the 2nd line center and demote Kevin Hayes

Andersson performed well in Hartford (NHL.com)

Lias Andersson is back after scoring 12 points in 14 games for the Wolf Pack in the AHL. While he was called up to replace the injured Brett Howden who is the 4th line center, Andersson needs a bigger role. The best way to give it to him is by demoting 2nd line center, Kevin Hayes.

Hayes’ Disappointing Start

Kevin Hayes was looking for a big pay day and a long term deal this past summer. What Hayes got was a big 1 year “show me” contract instead. So how has Hayes responded? Three goals, and three assists in 14 games. Disappointing is an understatement.

The center is averaging 18:51 of ice time a game. Of the 6 points he’s collected he only has 2 power play points (1G, 1A) despite averaging over 2 minutes per game. In truth, Quinn deploys him in a more defensive role as he starts in the defensive zone 52.3% of the time. If that’s the case, then commit further and demote him to the 3rd line.

Lias Andersson Is The Future

In 2017, the Rangers ignored the rankings of the Central Scouting Bureau and took Lias Andersson 7th overall with players like Casey Mittelstadt there for the taking. Andersson in his limited action with the Rangers has produced a goal and an assist in 7 games while averaging 11 minutes of ice time.

The Rangers selected Andersson because he was the most “NHL ready” player available at the draft. They took him despite most scouts and experts had him projected as a solid two-player that would make a great third liner with the potential to be a 2nd line center.

Well the future is here for Lias Andersson and the Rangers. A 7th overall pick in a draft shouldn’t be a third liner, so it’s time to firmly plant him on the 2nd line and give him PP time to boot. David Quinn needs to play him with offensive wingers and see what he can do.

The Rangers need to stop pretending you can rebuild and win at the same time. They need to commit to these young players that were sold to the fans last year as the future of the franchise. They need to commit to the letter they sent out last year.

To be honest, I doubt they will.

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