This was Carl Hagelin's third year as a New York Ranger and even though he didn't score at the pace that he did in the abbreviated 2012-13 season, he had a damn good year. Hagelin won a Silver Medal with Henrik Lundqvist and Team Sweden this year in Sochi to go along with being an Eastern Conference Champion this year. Hagelin missed the first ten games of the season after an offseason shoulder injury but didn't miss another game after returning to the team in late October.
Haggy's Highlight of the Season.
Speed is Good
The Swedish Roadrunner scored 33 points, including 17 goals, in 72 games this season with the Rangers. Not spectacular but pretty good considering the role he plays with the team. Hagelin, who is now 25 years old, perhaps doesn't get talked about as much as he should for a homegrown player that constantly gives his team a chance to win with his skill set and consistently outstanding effort. At the beginning of the season I felt that Hagelin would be a good fit in Alain Vigneault's new system thanks to his ability to make even fast players look slow, but that didn't keep Hagelin from get moved around in the lineup. He never seemed to get a good look on the line he looked best on last year with Rick Nash and Derek Stepan.
Vigneault may not have given Hagelin the power play time that some of us would have liked to see him get but AV used him in other significant roles, including the penalty kill. The only Rangers forward that killed penalties more frequently than Hagelin was defensive wizard Brian Boyle. Haggy buried a team and NHL-leading two shorthanded goals in the 2014 Playoffs thanks to his blazing speed.
A Poor Close to the Season
Haggy picked up a hat trick against the Winnipeg Jets on March 16th but after that point he scored just 1 goal and 4 assists in the remaining 13 games of the regular season. A big part of Hagelin's rather lackluster production at the close of the season can and should be attributed to him playing primarily with a snakebitten Martin St. Louis and a not-very-good-at-hockey Brad Richards. The Hagelin-Richards-St. Louis line seemed unable to get anything done in the offensive zone and it relied far too much on Hagelin winning puck battles and making things happen with his speed. If not for missing the first ten games of the season and a cold streak at the close of the 2013-14 campaign, Hagelin would have likely eclipsed the 20 goal mark.
Despite an underwhelming end to his regular season Hagelin was a standout for the Rangers in the 2014 Playoffs. Haggy buried 7 goals in 25 games (second only to Martin St. Louis) and kept defenders honest when he was on the ice with his speed. Hagelin's work ethic was on display to the entire league throughout the playoffs and he proved that he was a lot more than just a fast guy with enchanting hair. Hagelin was third on the team in shots, behind Nash and Richards, and at times felt like the most dangerous player on the ice, much in the way that Chris Kreider did, especially when matched up against slow-footed defenders.
When I've thought about the guys that failed to meet expectations in the 2014 Playoffs Hagelin's name never comes into my mind. He scored goals, he created offense, he was great on the penalty kill, and he had the ability to drive play and possession at times for the Rangers. For a guy who is the weight of a couple of baseball bats stuffed into a grocery bag, Hagelin was rarely pushed around and rarely lost battles in the corners. In a lot of ways, he is the bridge between Tortorella's Rangers and Vigneault's Rangers. Hagelin is under contract until the end of next season at a cap hit of $2,250,000 and then he will be a restricted free agent at the age of 26. I hope we see Hagelin in Rangers blue for a long time and I hope he gets a chance to play with more dynamic and responsible players in the 2014-15 season