Monday, July 18, 2011

Carl Hagelin Wins Michigan Clutch Performance of Year is honoring the best of the best in University of Michigan Athletics for the past year and today Carl Hagelin was announced as the winner of the winner for clutch performance of the year for his tremendous performance on senior night.  During his final regular-season home game, Hagelin found his team down 4-3 with under a minute to go against Western Michigan before he took the game over.  He would tie the game with just 39.1 seconds left in regulation and then score the game winner with a mere 2.9 seconds left in overtime.

That kind of clutch play and leadership is what a captain is supposed to do when his team is against the wall.  It is also why this morning there was a look at whether he could be another impact rookie for the Rangers this season.

Rumor: Alexei Yashin Has NHL Contract Offer?

Alexei Yashin has not played in the NHL since the 2006-07 season following the New York Islanders buying out the final four seasons of his 10-year, $87.5 million contract.  In the deal Yashin got $2.2 million from the Islanders over the following eight years.  Playing in the KHL since his buyout, Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy reported today that Yashin could be making a return to the NHL this season.  Here is Chesnokov’s translation of the Sovestsky Sport report
Is there an interest in Alexei from the NHL?
“We have already received one offer.”
From the Islanders?
“I will not discuss what the club is. We are considering the expediency of the offer.”
It is surprising to hear that an NHL club would make an offer for a player who is coming off his worst season in the KHL and has been out of the NHL for four seasons.  Yashin had some excellent seasons in the NHL, though was never going to be able to live up to his ridiculous contract and coming back now would only revive those criticisms.  As Chesnokov surmises in his write-up over at Puck Daddy, this feels more like a ploy to get more money from a KHL team than actual interest in coming back to the NHL.

Video: Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh Talk High School Battles Against Each Other

Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh have battled with and against each other since high school and in Part 1 of their sitdown with Blueshirts United they talk about battles they had in high school.  The story of how Stepan "schooled" McDonagh on a play in one meeting only to try the same move again in the next game against him and get flattened says a lot about both players.  The battle that Stepan won shows the skill he has on the ice and then the response by McDonagh when Derek tried it again shows the intelligence he plays the game with and how well he adjusts to what he sees.

Along with those high school stories they discussed the building of their friendship at Wisconsin and the what they are working on getting degrees in.

Video via Blueshirts United:

Carl Hagelin: Next Impact Rookie For Rangers Or Destined For Minors Due To Numbers Game?

The New York Rangers had tremendous success during the 2010-11 season incorporating rookies into their lineup and having those players perform at a very high level.  It is rare that a team can have significant contributions from three or four rookies in a season and still be a very competitive overall.  New York had that last season with Derek Stepan and Michael Sauer performing at very high levels for the entire season, while Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello also played well in their split seasons between the AHL and NHL.
After a season like that it would be understandable for an organization to lack talented players to step in as rookies the following season.  The Rangers do not have that problem and over the course of the next week we are going to look at some of the rookies that have a chance to make an impact on the Rangers during the 2011-12 season, whether it be in full or partial season duty.  First on the list of potential rookies to look at is LW Carl Hagelin.
Hagelin is coming off a tremendous senior season at Michigan where he had 18 goals and 31 assists in 44 games to top his stellar Wolverine career.  The transition from college hockey to professional hockey is one that happens at different rates for different players.  A player like Derek Stepan was able to step in immediately at the NHL level, while Ryan McDonagh needed a half season in the minors to be ready.  Others never make the transition at all.
Hagelin has the ability to make the transition as he has an all-around game, high hockey IQ and great speed which combine to make him especially dangerous on the penalty kill.  This issue for Hagelin, at least to start the season, might not have anything to do with him or how well he performs in training camp, but the sheer numbers game in terms of the roster.  Being a first year professional Hagelin is not subject to waivers which makes sending him down and easier move than potentially losing another player to waivers.  Beyond that it is likely that he would not be ready to step in immediately and would be on a timetable like McDonagh or even Mats Zuccarello where they go to the minors to start the season, play major minutes while adjusting to the pro game and get a chance to show they belong in the NHL around mid-season.
While deemed mainly a third or fourth line type player, the all-around game that Hagelin brings to the ice will make him a valuable Ranger for years to come.  That said, his chances of him following in the path of Stepan, Sauer or McDonagh in terms of that kind of impact for this season are limited at best.  However, an excellent showing at Traverse City and full training camp along with one or two roster changes to the existing forwards and Hagelin could get his shot from day 1 to show what he has.