Though the Rangers‘ 21st overall 1st-round draft choice, Filip Chytil, was able to power through the preseason with a jaw-dropping performance to steal a roster spot, Jeff Gorton and company elected to move their other 1st-round pick, Lias Andersson, back to his Swedish Elite League club for at least one more season.
Andersson did not pass through this training camp and preseason unnoticed. Alain Vigneault praised his play multiple times and the young Swede was able to make it all the way through to the final cuts.
A major factor in him being moved back to his home country was the stellar play of Filip Chytil and with the experience and maturity of the more veteran roster players it simply made more sense for the Rangers to send him back to the Frolunda Indians to give him more top-line minutes …but he was still close. Very close.
Andersson exhibited some raw skill that do warrant him the first-round placement of the pick, but the Froluna Indians will give him a role that allows him to explore his own talents with a chance to be vetted and to develop in a more proper way.
The General Manager of the Indians, Fredrik Sjostrom (yes, that Fredrik Sjostrom) said in an interview with FrolundaIndians.com “The New York Rangers lending Lias to us… and we are of course very happy. We had a plan that he would play for us and this is what we see as something that will strengthen our squad.”
For a moment some had speculated Andersson could play for the Hartford Wolfpack in the AHL and perhaps that style of play — the smaller ice size, the greater physical play — would help him adjust to NHL play faster. However, Andersson is happier that the Blueshirts elected to allow him to return to his Swedish team.
“I have had discussions with the Rangers and I agree that it is better for me to do a whole season in Frolunda than to jump up and down here. I want to develop and I will be able to do that in Sweden’s best hockey environment.” – Lias Andersson (FrolundaIndians.com)