The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with Lias Andersson, the team’s seventh overall pick in the 2017 Draft, today.
It’s not uncommon for teams to sign early draft picks to entry-level deals right out of the gate, but the timing of this announcement could carry a little bit more significance.
The Rangers need a third line center (or a top-nine winger, if J.T. Miller is moved to center). The hole left by the departures of Oscar Lindberg and Derek Stepan has not yet been completely filled. With a strong camp Andersson could earn that roster spot.
Whether Lias Andersson is NHL ready remains to be seen. But the Rangers have openings at center and he'll get a look at training camp #NYR— Jon Lane (@JonLaneNHL) July 13, 2017
The odds aren’t exactly in the teenager’s favor, but that hasn’t stopped him from setting his sights on playing in the NHL next season.
“I want to compete for a spot,” Andersson recently told the Post. “They’re looking for centermen. I think I’m pretty smart out there, I’ve played with men for two years now, and I think my game will fit in pretty good with older players. We’ll see. I’m going to battle for a spot and it’s up to the coaches.”
Andersson had 19 points in 42 games with HV71 in the SHL last season. And, like he said, he was playing with and against men. He’ll be 19-years-old this October.