Lias Andersson scoring chance vs USA
(Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

Lias Andersson, one of the two first-round picks the New York Rangers made in the 2017 NHL Draft, has been tearing it up in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The New York Rangers took Lias Andersson with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and received criticism from the fan base for it, now it’s time to get excited.

Andersson was named one of Sweden’s top three players of the Championship this year, an outstanding accomplishment considering the amount of talent that is on Sweden’s roster.

The 19-year-old has been serving as Sweden’s captain for the tournament which shows the type of character he has at such a young age. Leadership skills are not something that you can tell by looking at statistics, but it is something that is valued by teams. Andersson having these type of skills at this stage in his career could foreshadow a potential leadership role in the future with the Rangers.

In the tournament, Andersson has scored six goals, tied for the most goals in the entire tournament as well as being in the top five in points. The goal scoring is an encouraging sign for Andersson considering that isn’t a major part of his game.

His playmaking ability is the most exciting part of his game. If he is able to start generating some goals thanks to his playmaking ability he can become the type of player that the fanbase wanted.

Coming into the 2017-2018 season the Rangers gave Andersson and fellow rookie Fillip Chytil an opportunity to make the roster out of training camp. Ultimately Chytil beat out Andersson who clearly needed more work over in the Swedish Hockey League. That hard work has translated on the score sheet for Andersson who has scored 14 points in 22 games for Frolunda in the SHL.

Scouts called Andersson a safe pick when the Rangers selected him. Well, if he continues to put up numbers like this and they translate into the NHL, the Rangers would make that safe pick over and over again.

Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.