New York Rangers: Top-10 prospects under 24

Vitaly Kravtsov, New York Rangers. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Vitaly Kravtsov, New York Rangers. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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New York Rangers
Lias Andersson, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

6. Lias Andersson (20), Center

There are plenty of expectations heaped on the Blueshirts 2017 first-round draft pick (7th overall) Lias Andersson. So far the Swede has come up far short of those expectations. He’s struggled to make the team over the past two seasons. When Andersson has been called up, he has failed to impress. It was his job that Howden won in last summer’s training camp.

It’s actually a bit of a surprise that Andersson has struggled so much. Although he doesn’t possess as much raw skill as others on this list, he plays a physically strong game that translates well to North America. Andersson will need to rely on some of his other skills to succeed.

His strong legs aid in his quick acceleration to top speed and he can change direction almost on a dime. Andersson isn’t afraid to go to the front of the net to battle with defenders for loose pucks. In the SHL, he would occasionally let go of a nice wrist shot, but it’s not something he uses often.

Although he was drafted as a center, Andersson can play all three forward positions. A strong two-way game will be his bread and butter going forward. Eventually, he has enough upside to play on the second line. It will take lots of work on his part to get there. In the meantime, he has to show some of the “edginess” that got him drafted so high.

Andersson will need to have his best game working for him in camp next month after last year’s failure.