Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers will be making his Olympic debut this year in Sochi, Russia on a roster packed with NHL talent. His inclusion on the roster says a lot about what the Swedish selection committee thinks about the 25 year old winger.
Hagelin does not have the resume of some of his Olympic teammates, certainly he does not have the credentials of elder statesmen like Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin or Henrik Zetterberg, but Hagelin will not be called upon to do the heavy lifting that those players will be asked to do. On this Swedish squad, which features only one non-NHL player, Hagelin will be a cast as a depth player, likely playing on the bottom line. Hagelin will be asked to play solid two-way hockey, something he is more than capable of, and if he were to pitch in anything offensively the Swedes would consider it a bonus. I have a feeling that Hagelin could be poised to surprise a lot of people who may not know his name during these Olympic games.
Hagelin possesses incredible speed, which will certainly be on display even more on the larger International ice surface than it is here in the NHL. With the additional space Hagelin has the potential to thrive. If given open ice in these games he will have a chance to be very productive and turn a lot of heads in the process.
Hagelin has played in 146 NHL games in his career, all as a member of the New York Rangers. In that time Hagelin has 34 goals and 45 assists, good for 79 points. His defensive acumen, a trait I assume helped land him on this team, is evidenced by the fact that he has never had a negative +/- rating in his three year career. He has pitched in 11 goals and 17 assists this year for the Rangers, a total that ranks him eighth on the team in points despite missing ten games.
Hagelin may not be a household name around the NHL right now, but he will be given an opportunity to showcase himself to a wider audience for a Swedish team that I think will advance very far in this year’s Olympic Hockey Tournament.
(all stats via Hockey-reference.com)