Post-Draft Season: Born Under Punches
Andersson started his 2017-18 year playing 22 Games for Frolunda HC in Sweden’s top division. The young center managed seven goals and seven assists. He looked ready for a taste of the NHL-level competition.
When Andersson did come over to New York for his seven-game “cup of coffee,” he only put up one goal and a helper. Before long, he was on the bus to Hartford to play 25 more games (5G-9A-14P). Adjustment to the smaller North American ice would take some time.
In the same season, Andersson was Sweeden’s captain at the World Junior Championship, where the team took second place. He led by example with a solid performance in that tournament, posting six goals. It was after his team’s final game defeat where he (now infamously) threw his silver medal into the stands during the ceremonies.
When matched up against his peers in the WJC, he showed he could perform at the same high-level scouts had seen pre-draft. As for the antics, New York Rangers fans took this as a sign of a strong desire to win. Some attributed it to a fierce work ethic and saw a refusal to (literally) accept finishing in second place as a good sign in a young and hungry player.
By no means was his first NHL experience considered an overwhelming success. But despite the lackluster showing, Andersson’s struggles were not enough to write him off. He looked a bit out of step with the pace of an NHL game. But that is the case with many 18 and 19-year-old players in the current, faster-paced league.
All in all, it was an underwhelming arrival for the young Swede, but nothing that a strong Sophomore showing could not erase.