Jesper Fast
AP Photo

With nine games remaining for the New York Rangers, there are reports that Jesper Fast could be shut down for the rest of the season. 

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Jesper Fast may have put on the New York Rangers jersey for the last time this season.

This news is coming after Fast battled and played with a shoulder injury. He sustained the shoulder injury on Dec. 14 and has played in all but six games this season. With Fast’s playstyle as a gritty, hard-hitting forward, the severity of that shoulder injury could have been amplified.

As the Rangers are nearing the end of this season, this could be a growing trend with other players.

Both Chris Kreider and Marc Staal have been playing through lower body injuries, and could soon follow Fast. With the possibility of veteran players sitting out the rest of the season, the door is now wide open for some prospects from Harford to get the call-up.

These last nine games just became more competitive for this Rangers roster. Bubble players, that will either be in Hartford or in New York next season, will be in the spotlight. Alexandar Georgiev is another player that will be exclusively highlighted, as next season is a mystery for him.

Lias Andersson, Brett Howden and Libor Hajek are just a few of the names that will be critiqued in the remaining games.

Through 66 games this season, Fast has been slightly under his career average in goals and assists yet has made it up in other areas. His eight goals and 12 assists is his lowest point total since his sophomore season of 2014-15. But he tied a career high in shots on goal with 120 and played the most amount of minutes per game at 15:43. In addition, Fast has also kept up his tenacity with adding 120 hits this season.

This could open the floodgates for other hurt veteran players to get an early jump on the summer. It’s a win-win situation, opening spots for the younger players to prove their NHL worth. Shutting down Jesper Fast is obviously not a good thing, but it could very well help shape the roster for next season.