New York Rangers center Lias Andersson is looking ahead to next season after an up-and-down NHL debut at the end of the 2017-18 season.
The New York Rangers took a shot on Lias Andersson when they selected him seventh overall during the 2017 draft. He’s a player renowned for his strong 200-foot game. He isn’t going to have one calling card, such as goal scoring or playmaking.
Instead, he is going to be a player who can do everything, but not star in any one section.
He can play on the penalty kill, can provide offense and is a strong forechecker. He had an up-and-down NHL debut, but told Matt Calamia of nyrangers.com he is looking forward to next season, saying, “I don’t think about those seven games, I look forward to next year.”
Andersson had a goal (with his family at the game) and an assist in his seven-game cameo with the Rangers, playing under former head coach Alain Vigneault. He was then named to Sweden’s World Championship team, where he won gold.
“It was unbelievable. It’s a big thing here to win a World Championship. It’s huge. It’s the soccer championship and the hockey championship as the biggest things back home. It was fun that we won the gold back-to-back.”
He spent time with many great players on team Sweden, such as Filip Forsberg, teammate Mika Zibanejad, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and tried to soak up as much as he could from them. “It was a lot of fun watching them. You try and soak everything in. You try to watch their game and what they do on and off the ice.”
General manager Jeff Gorton is happy Andersson went, saying “The fact that Lias played with some really good players early on in that tournament, I think will really help him”
Andersson split last season between Sweden and North America. He started the year with Frolunda in Sweden, putting up seven goals and 14 points in 22 games. After the World Junior Championships, the Rangers brought him to the AHL, where he had five goals and 14 points in 25 games. He then joined the Rangers for the final seven games of the NHL season.
The team will be relying on him in 2018 as they attempt to bounce back from a dreadful season in which they missed the playoffs and fired coach Alain Vigneault.