New York Rangers and Lias Andersson thaw their cold war

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

2017 first-round draft pick Lias Andersson and the New York Rangers are in direct contact for the first time since the center waked out on the organization at the end of December.

There was a recent thaw in the icy relationship between the New York Rangers and disgruntled 20-year-old center Lias Anderson. Team president John Davidson revealed that after only dealing with Anderson’s agent for weeks, he has finally started talking to Andersson directly.

Andersson was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He was supposed to be a key part of the New York Rangers rebuild. Instead, the young Swede has been nothing more than a spare part. After 66 NHL games over parts of three NHL seasons, Andersson has just nine total points. His poor production is not what the Blueshirts expected when they selected him with a top 10 pick.

It seemed like Andersson turned the corner when he broke camp with the team in October. Once again he failed to distinguish himself and lock down a definite role. In 10 of 17 games he spent with the Rangers this season, he played under 10 minutes. It culminated with 3:55 of ice time on November 16th at Florida. Management decided it was best for Andersson to demote him to Hartford.

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His stint with the Wolfpack lasted just over a month. Andersson played 13 games, collecting a modest five points. Once again his defense was suspect, going -9. The young man (as young men often do) grew frustrated and walked out shortly before Christmas resulting in a suspension from the Rangers. He demanded a trade and went back home to Sweden.

Through his agent, Andersson received permission to workout with Kungälvs IK, a low-level team in Sweden. Then the two parties began to talk directly. Sometime in the last 10 days, Davidson said he started talking with his “missing in action” center and not his agent. There must have been a breakthrough because The New York Rangers announced on Sunday that they have loaned Andersson to HV-71 in the Swedish Hockey League, his previous team before getting drafted.

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Both sides have taken flak for the way they have conducted themselves in this situation. Whether or not Andersson returns to Broadway remains to be seen. At least they are talking to each other.