New York Rangers: Does Lias Andersson have a role on this roster?

Lias Andersson, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lias Andersson, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
1 of 3
New York Rangers
Lias Andersson, New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New York Rangers are set to have a loaded forward core of young talent this season. With a crowded picture of centers rostered, Lias Andersson could be the odd man out.

The center position has been a game of musical chairs since Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan departed the New York Rangers locker room several years ago. Just before the 2017-18 season, the Rangers set out to build a solid prospect pool of centers by drafting Lias Andersson at seventh overall followed by Filip Chytil at twenty-first. Later in the season, they traded for Brett Howden, Vlad Namestnikov, and also acquired Ryan Strome.

While at one point the organization was starving for centers, it’s now going to be a rat race for the abundance of them under contract this season. Mika Zibanejad only recently established himself as the number one, but the other three lines have been a group of hello-goodbyes under the two most recent head coaches Alain Vigneault and David Quinn.

While it is not certain who the second-line center is going to be yet, it is fair to rank experience and progress among these options at hand. We know that Strome and Namestnikov are going to be “locks” in the New York Rangers lineup, whether they play center or not. Both bring some experience and can play a two-way game with an occasional point to be had.

Chytil, although streaky, as shown bursts of his capabilities at the pro level and is projected to surpass the 23 points he put up from his rookie season. Howden faced injury last year, but he started the season lights out and went on to post 23 as well in his rookie campaign.

While both have much to prove, I think it’s safe to say Chytil has an “unofficial” lock on a bottom-six role in this years lineup, while Howden could possibly be a bubble guy depending on his performance in training camp. Did I mention the big man, Boo Nieves, is in this mix too?