With the Seventh Pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft the New York Rangers Have Selected Lias Andersson From the HV71 in the SHL.
About Lias Andersson
With hockey running in the family, the New York Rangers decided to take Lias Andersson with their newly acquired seventh overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Rangers got the pick along with Anthony DeAngelo for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta.
— NHL (@NHL) June 23, 2017
Andersson has already played two seasons in the Swedish Hockey League and is learning to play among men. While his first year wasn’t filled with much success, the 18-year-old tallied 19 points (nine goals and 10 assists) in 42 games with HV71 last season. He has a great two-way game and could develop into a very interesting NHL player.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt:
Andersson, son of former NHLer Niklas Andersson, an amateur Los Angeles Kings scout who represented five different NHL teams over nine years between the 1992-93 and the 2000-01 season, is expected to outshine his father by getting drafted by an NHL team in the first round this summer.
As good of a player as Niklas was, Lias could be something else. Already in his second season with HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League, young Andersson has settled in the lineup, and he’s contributing as if he was a veteran. After 37 games so far during the 2016-17 season, he has 17 (7+10) points. All the more impressive if you consider the fact that he’s mostly covered the role of a third or fourth liner, averaging 13:19 minutes of ice-time per game.
“I try to work hard in the offensive and defensive zones and push the guys on the bench,” Andersson told The Hockey News in August 2016. “I want to be a leader. I want to run the power play, play big minutes, make space for my teammates and score some goals.”
This is where we can identify the beauty of Andersson’s game. He’s both a hard-working, fearless type of player with an unmistaken attitude – and a high-level producer with smart hockey sense, finesse, and great finishing qualities.
Andersson is far from perfect, although it is inconveniently difficult to point out any specific weaknesses that may affect him. In early 2016, he was asked about what he needs to improve as a player. “It’s the small details,” he said to Hockeysverige. “I have to get better especially [with the play] around the net and along the boards. Then, of course, I have to get stronger and things like that.”
As shown in the 2017 World Junior Championships, his strengths tend to outweigh his faults. A lot of that is thanks to his determination of doing what it takes to win. Also, as a bonus, if he can keep polish that wrist shot of his, which he let loose several times in the World Juniors, he will surely have a good time in the NHL.
How This Affects the New York Rangers’ Plans
The Rangers still have a healthy dose of prospects so long as Pavel Buchnevich can stay healthy, but Andersson has the ability to develop into something for the Rangers. While his offence hasn’t shown up completely yet in the SHL, he is a good two-way player that should crack the Rangers (or an NHL team’s) top three lines at some point in the coming years.
If you look at the Rangers prospect pool Andersson might not show up right away, but he will climb his way up their depth chart over the next couple of seasons. The goal for the Rangers should be to get him over to North America and used to the North American game.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.