RANGERS COULD NOT HAVE IMAGINED HAGELIN WOULD BE BACK IN THE EAST SO SOON
The New York Rangers determined in the summer Carl Hagelin wasn’t a $4 million a year player and they’re probably right that he isn’t, but the Rangers could not have imagined he’d end back in the Eastern Conference so quick as he did and with a rival they’ll likely meet for the third straight post-season.
New York also gambled that getting a cheaper version of Hagelin in Emerson Etem, a player with excellent speed to go with a first-round pedigree would help ease the loss for the present and potentially be a more impactful player long-term.
That obviously didn’t go as planned as the Rangers quickly soured on Etem and already traded him with the icing on the cake being that Hagelin is now a thorn in the Rangers side with Anaheim doing the disservice to them of trading him back to the East.
Hagelin’s ability to create chaos with his speed has been his single greatest attribute to the Penguins lineup and it was on display again in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime win.
Penguin players last season talked of how difficult the Rangers were to defend with the speed they had on the left side with Nash, Kreider and Hagelin. That element has been lost a bit.
Now the script has been flipped some with Hagelin being the one who creates the chaos for Penguins, as Larry Brooks wrote in the New York Post.
Here were some quotes out of the Rangers room from Brooks’ column last night.
“Everyone knows what kind of a player Hags was for us, and he’s the same kind of player for them,” Marc Staal said. “He caused havoc with his speed. They play a lot like we like to. You always have to be aware of him. He was a big part of our team. That’s no secret.”
Will the Hagelin trade haunt the Rangers?
Week Ahead for the Penguins.
The Penguins schedule doesn’t let up which is a good thing in getting this team best prepared for the playoffs. Five of their final seven games are against clubs currently in the playoffs.
They will play four games in six nights, starting Tuesday at home vs Buffalo.
3/29 vs Buffalo
3/31 vs Nashville
4/2 @ New York Islanders
4/3 vs Philadelphia.
Thursday’s game vs Nashville should be a good one.
The Penguins final home game of the season will be Sunday vs Philadelphia before the Penguins finish the season with three straight road games against Ottawa, Washington and Philadelphia.