New York Rangers Analysis: Could Carl Hagelin Be This Year's Derek Stepan?

Last season Derek Stepan went into the preseason expected to start the season with the AHL affiliate of the Rangers, the Hartford Wolfpack. Stepan instead shined throughout training camp and preseason, and earned a spot on the Rangers' opening night roster. In his NHL debut, Stepan scored a hat trick in Buffalo.

Carl Hagelin impressed many in training camp this season, and that has me thinking. Could Carl Hagelin be this years Derek Stepan?

Derek Stepan played two seasons at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Rangers last season. Carl Hagelin played four seasons at the University of Michigan before agreeing to terms with the Rangers this season.

Enough with the comparing, though, let's take a look at Carl Hagelin, who he is, and how he would make the roster.

John Tortorella has already hinted at the possibility, saying "Carl Hagelin is one of six or seven guys that'll get a long look here."

Hagelin played in five games with the Connecticut Whale last season, so Tortorella may have gotten a look. Add that to his training camp, and we have an intriguing candidate.

Hagelin, 23, was a sixth round draft choice by the Rangers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The lefty shooter has already made a friend in camp in Tim Erixon, another player looking to make the roster.

Follow me after the jump to see how Hagelin could make the roster.

If Hagelin impresses enough in the preseason, a large issue is where he would fit in on the roster. 

Currently, my projected lines are

Wolski-Richards-Gaborik

Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan

Avery-Stepan-Rupp

Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust

Barring injury, these look like the players that will make the roster. That leaves Mats Zuccarello Aesan and Eric Christensen off the team, as well.

MZA stands a great chance of being demoted for cap reasons, and so that he can season a bit more in the AHL. Christensen could make the team as an extra, but he does not bring much to the table other than a fantastic shootout record

If Hagelin makes the roster, it will likely be in the Avery left wing slot. Avery would make the team as an extra for the trip to Europe, and if Hagelin proves worthy of the NHL, Avery would stay as an extra. If Hagelin struggles, Avery could take his spot and Hagelin could go down to the AHL. Simple as that, an audition for the youngster. There's a simple redundancy between Avery, Rupp, and Prust, that diminishes any need to have Avery on the roster.

It's up to Hagelin to force the Rangers to give him a chance like Stepan did last season. If not, we will see the Swedish winger soon enough.

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