Disappointing former Rangers prospect heads back to Europe

Lias Andersson, Rangers
Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers made a massive trade on June 23, 2017, sending fan favorite center Derek Stepan and goaltender Anti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Tony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick in the draft.

The Blueshirts went on to select Lias Andersson with that pick, and they believed they had chosen a new top-six center to replace Stepan. The Rangers did select a center in the first round that would turn into a vital piece of the organization’s future, but it would not be Andersson; instead, it would be Filip Chytil at 21st overall.

Lias Andersson struggled with the Rangers

Lias Andersson, Rangers
Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

After signing his entry-level contract, Andersson played in the SHL for Frölunda HC and in the AHL for the Hartford Wolfpack before eventually debuting near the end of the 2017-18 season.

The Swedish native played 66 games across three seasons for the Rangers, scoring three goals and registering six assists before requesting a trade in December 2019.

The Blueshirts would trade Andersson to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ 2020 second-round pick.  The Rangers would select Will Cuylle with that pick, and the Canada native registered more for the blue and white last season (81 games, 13 goals, and eight assists) than Andersson did during his entire time in New York.

Andersson is heading to Switzerland

After never quite finding his footing across three years with the Kings, Anderson spent 2023-24 in the AHL with the Laval Rockets and is now leaving American hockey. According to a report from TSN, Andersson has signed a two-year contract to play for EHC Biel-Bienne in Switzerland.

What could have been?

Taking a look back at the ensuing picks after Andersson, the Blueshirts would love to have that selection back. Even if they still went with a center, they could have selected former all-star Nick Suzuki, who went 13th, or Casey Mittelsdat, who went eighth.

It’s much easier to play Monday morning general manager. Still, the whiff on Andersson could have been the difference from the Rangers having that missing piece that could have gotten them over the hump and back into the Stanley Cup Finals.

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