In the latest twist of their soap opera, the Rangers announced on Sunday that they loaned forward Lias Andersson to HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League.
The 21-year-old had been suspended since late December for leaving the organization’s AHL affiliate in Hartford to return to his home country of Sweden.
It’s been nothing short of a failed experiment for Andersson and the Rangers.
After picking the highly-touted prospect seventh overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, the Rangers continuously limited Andersson’s chances of attaining any sort of legitimate success at the NHL level.
While playing on the team’s lower lines, he averaged just 10:33 of total ice time per game in 66 career games over three seasons, accruing three goals and six assists.
He lasted just 17 games in the NHL this year before being demoted to Hartford while the Rangers continued to give younger players like Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Brett Howden more opportunities.
While in Hartford, Andersson requested a trade around the same time of his exodus to Sweden.
Andersson spent three seasons in the HV71 organization before being selected by the Rangers. Two of those came in the SHL (Sweden’s top-flight league) where he helped them win a championship in 2016-17.
The decision to loan Andersson to the Swedish club allows him to get back on the ice and get back on track. However, it remains to be seen if Rangers management will use this to salvage their relationship with him.