It's far too early to throw Rangers' rookie Carl Hagelin into the same boat, although the circumstances are similar. Hagelin started the year in the AHL, impressed the brass in both Connecticut and New York and is currently making strides with the big club. He has a goal and three assists in four games played, and seems to be getting stronger and more comfortable night in and night out.
But now that we're eight games into his campaign, we're getting a better look at who the real Carl Hagelin is. Yes, eight games is still a small sample size, but it's another four games where Hagelin has continued his growth as a player for the New York Rangers.
When watching Hagelin remember that he didn't spend a significant amount of time in the AHL either. When the Rangers called up McDonagh last year he had 38 games worth of seasoning in Connecticut. Hagelin had all of 17.
Join me after the jump for more.
It should be noted that Hagelin's two-goal game in the Rangers' 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres were his first points since he registered a goal and three assists in his first four NHL games. But sometimes the scoresheet doesn't always tell the full story.
Hagelin has been fantastic in his own end, and as George pointed out via twitter last night: Hagelin was a +6 corsi on a night when the entire team was a -12.
Thus far John Tortorella hasn't trusted Hagelin with any penalty kill time. Although if Hagelin continues his impressive play, Tortorella might not have a choice. Putting Hagelin on the penalty kill would help relieve guys like Brandon Dubinsky (2:09 a night), Ryan Callahan (2:01 a night) and Derek Stepan (1:25 a night) so they can focus more on their offense.
With the injury to Mike Sauer, however, getting any forwards relief on the penalty kill becomes more difficult. Hagelin might help the Rangers not have to overuse some of their other forwards on the penalty kill, but that's up to Tortorella.
Either way, both his offense and his defense are coming along nicely, and the Rangers' brass are watching a player grow before their very eyes.