Lias Andersson

New York Rangers Select Lias Andersson With No. 7 Overall Pick

In Blueshirt Bulletin Main Blog, News by Tom Urtz Jr

The New York Rangers used the 7th overall pick acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta on Lias Andersson of HV71 of the SHL.

Here is the release from the Rangers.

NEW YORK, June 23, 2017 – During the first day of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft on Friday, June 23 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois, the New York Rangers acquired the seventh overall pick from the Arizona Coyotes and used the pick to select forward Lias Andersson.

Andersson, 18, skated in 42 games with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this past season, registering nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, along with a plus-21 rating and 18 penalty minutes. He established SHL career-highs in several categories in 2016-17, including games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating. Andersson ranked eighth in the SHL – and led all junior players (younger than 20 years old) in the league – in plus/minus rating this past season. He also ranked second among all junior players in the SHL in goals and assists, and tied for second among all junior players in the SHL in points in 2016-17.

Andersson registered five points (four goals, one assist) and 18 penalty minutes in 16 playoff games while helping HV71 win the Le Mat Trophy as Swedish Hockey League Champions this past season. He tied for fifth on HV71 in goals in the playoffs, and he also ranked second among all junior players in the SHL in playoff goals this past season. Andersson played seven games in the Champions Hockey League with HV71 in 2016-17, recording one assist and two penalty minutes. He has skated in 64 career SHL games over parts of two seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17), registering 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists), along with a plus-14 rating and 24 penalty minutes.

The 6-0, 200-pounder skated in 37 games with HV71’s junior team in SuperElit during the 2015-16 season, recording 24 goals and 35 assists for 59 points, along with a plus-17 rating and 91 penalty minutes. Andersson led all players in SuperElit in overall assists and points during the season. He made his SHL debut during the 2015-16 season, skating in 22 regular season games and four playoff contests with HV71.

Internationally, the Smogen, Sweden, native has represented his country at several tournaments. Most recently, Andersson registered three goals and posted a plus-two rating in seven games while representing Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. He helped Sweden earn a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF World U18 Championship, as he recorded nine points (five goals, four assists) in seven contests and was selected as one of the Top Three Players on his team in the tournament. In addition, Andersson helped Sweden earn a silver medal at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

Andersson’s father, Niklas Andersson, played parts of six seasons in the NHL (1992-93; 1995-96 – 1997-98; 1999-00 – 2000-01) with Quebec, the NY Islanders, San Jose, Nashville, and Calgary, registering 82 points (29 goals, 53 assists) in 164 career games. In addition, Lias’ uncle, Mikael Andersson, played in the NHL for parts of 15 seasons (1985-86 – 1999-00) and is currently a European Scout with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Alex Nunn specializes in European prospects, and here is what he thought about the pick.

The consensus here is there is nothing wrong with Andersson as a player, but he isn’t the type of player you select in the top 10. He is an 18-year-old who is a solid all-around player, but projects to be a second-line center. The biggest issue is the Rangers gave up a sure first-line center in Derek Stepan for a player with a relatively limited ceiling compared to other players available at No. 7.

When asked who he tries to pattern his game after, Andersson replied:

I mean, I love watching those good centermen, Toews. I love watching Claude Giroux for the Flyers. I think they can play a little bit tough and score big goals. And, yeah, I think they’re game changers. And Toews is a big winner. He’s won everything, and I want to win everything, too.

When asked about his biggest asset he replied:
I don’t know, I think I want to be like a full-package player. I want to have the full package. So I’ll say my work ethic and just being around those hot situations. And I like scoring important goals.
He also spoke highly of future teammate Henrik Lundqvist.
Oh, yeah, it feels amazing. I actually know him a little bit. My dad played with him for some years. So it will be good to see him again. I mean, feels just amazing. He’s one of the biggest stars that Sweden hockey ever had, so it just feels amazing.

When asked about his future Andersson said:

I don’t know yet. I have a contract back home with Frolunda, so we’ll see what’s happening, see what the Rangers want. Obviously my goal is to play in the NHL. I know it’s tough, and if I don’t make it, maybe play in the American League or play back home in Sweden. I don’t know yet. We’ll figure something good out.

There certainly are a number of expectations associated with Andersson and his selection at No. 7, and it will be interesting to see what steps he takes next to transition from prospect to NHL player.