Jayson Megna was called up prior to the Rangers contest against the Dallas Stars, where New York put together a dominant effort defeating Dallas by a final score of 6-2. The 25-year-old was placed into the line-up despite Emeron Etem (recently traded) being healthy, which speaks to how the organization felt about both players. In the AHL, Megna had recorded 18 points in 34 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack, and the American forward showed that he could play at this level out of the gate by producing two points in his first game as a Ranger. The biggest aspects of his game, have been his hustle, and his ability to read situations well.
Speed and Poise
Since arriving at Rangers training camp, Megna has been the kind of player that’s always turning his legs and battling hard to retrieve the puck. Factor in that he skates exceptionally well, and has good poise, and it becomes easy to see that he brings some elements that the Rangers haven’t had lately. The forward has 48 games of NHL experience prior to being a Ranger, so there’s not much anxiety in his game; this collected approach has allowed him to blend seamlessly into the team.
Since Chris Kreider went down with a hand injury, it only made sense that the team deploy a guy who could win races, and do the dirty work in the corners. Megna reminds me of Carl Hagelin in the way that his feet are just always moving; and if he wins the puck, he has the ability to worm out of tight spaces. All of this was on display early against the Stars when Derek Stepan was able to cash in on a great play started by Megna.
The winger made the Rangers coaching staff look really good early and made their decisions on how to use him easy.
While the best part of Megna’s game so far looks to be his speed, the Rangers could reap the benefits of the sound offensive instincts that the forward possesses. He’s never been the type of player to “light it up” on a daily basis, but you can tell by watching him that he has terrific hands, and sound vision. Another bonus is that he’s a right-handed-shot, which the Rangers have desperately needed to create some extra options on their man-advantage. Through just two games Megna has averaged 1:55 of time on the power-play, which speaks to the teams confidence in his ability to make responsible, yet effective plays.
Not only has he been sound on the power-play, he’s also seeing an increased role over-all jumping from 11:51 in his first game to 15:11 in his second. Clearly the coaches like what he’s bringing, but the guys he’s on the ice with also feel comfortable with him.
Rick Nash on Jayson Megna: “I thought he was great. He didn’t miss a step out there and he was great.”
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) January 6, 2016
Now to be fair, I can’t ever see Nash saying anything bad about a teammate, but it is worth noting that the two seem to have a chemistry during their short stint together.
Megna isn’t the kind of player who saves the Rangers from their recent slide by scoring a boat load of goals, he is however the kind of player that could give a stale team a kick in the pants. Seeing him bring his own unique flavor to the team gives the Rangers a guy who can move up and down the line-up, and put some pressure on guys like Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider to work that much harder.
I don’t know if Megna’s play through one game made Etem suddenly expendable (I doubt it), but this guy seems like the perfect fit to be a 12th/13th forward in the long run, where Etem was just always a half step off. Right now Megna’s with Nash and Stepan, but I see him as a guy that slides in and out of the line-up in different positions from here on out.