NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Rangers have agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with Lias Andersson, the seventh overall pick in last month’s draft.
In 42 games in the Swedish Hockey League this past season, Andersson, who is 18 years old, had 19 points, including 10 assists. The 6-foot, 200-pound center scored three goals in 17 games while playing for his native Sweden in the 2017 world juniors.
While Andersson is obviously young, the situation might be ripe for him to earn a spot with the Rangers. The Blueshirts are thin at center after Oscar Lindberg was picked by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft and the Rangers traded Derek Stepan to the Coyotes. New York has added veteran David Desharnais this summer.
“I want to compete for a spot,” Andersson said at last month’s development camp in Tarrytown. “They’re looking for centermen. I think I’m pretty smart out there, I’ve played with men for two years now, and I think my game will fit in pretty good with older players. We’ll see. I’m going to battle for a spot, and it’s up to the coaches.”
When asked what kind of player he expects to be in the NHL, Andersson told reporters: “I think I’m a two-way center. I love to score goals. I love to have the puck. I want to make smart plays all over the ice in the defensive zone and offensive zone, create space for my teammates and just be a leader on the ice and off the ice, and I want to win everything.”
Coach Alain Vigneault has been impressed so far with Andersson.
“I have to say that I really liked what I saw from (Lias) Andersson at our development camp,” Vigneault told the New York Post. “He’s got great hands, and he can play. He’s going to get every opportunity.”
Andersson’s father, Niklas, played 138 of his 174 career NHL games with the Islanders.