The Lias Andersson saga continues. The Rangers youngster, who walked out on their farm team midseason to return to Sweden while demanding a trade, declined an invitation to rejoin the team for their Qualifying Round series. It seemed like the invitation alone as an olive branch was a small step in the right direction in terms of trying to get him to return to North America but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Instead, Andersson announced in a video on HV71’s Twitter page that he will remain there for the 2020-21 season.
It has been a rough couple of years for the seventh pick of the 2017 draft. After holding his own with the Rangers and AHL Hartford as an 18-year-old, it looked as if he’d be an important part of their future. However, his development has stagnated since then and he had a minor role with New York to start the year, averaging just 9:33 per night in 17 games before being sent to the Wolf Pack. Things didn’t go much better there as he had just four goals and an assist in 13 games before leaving the team to go home in the hopes of getting a fresh start somewhere else.
He didn’t get the trade he was seeking though and instead, the two sides eventually settled on a loan agreement where he’d join HV71 to finish out the season. He was much more productive there, collecting a dozen points in 15 games while seeing his playing time jump to 15:45 per night. Understandably, both the SHL squad and Andersson were happy with that which prompted him to ask to be loaned out again, a request that New York has evidently granted.
While Andersson may be happy with this outcome, it certainly doesn’t help his chances of getting dealt in the NHL. He’s under contract for next season already (the final year of his entry-level deal) which means he’ll count against the 50-contract limit and now that he has committed to staying there longer, the chances of the Rangers getting full value for his services certainly has dipped as a result. At 21, Andersson still has some upside but he’ll be showcasing himself to other NHL teams overseas for a little while yet.