The New York Rangers have finally found a taker for Lias Andersson. The former top prospect is on his way to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the 60th overall pick in today’s draft. With the pick, the Rangers have selected William Cuylle.
Andersson was selected seventh overall in 2017 and is still actually under his entry-level contract, but has been playing in the SHL for some time. His father happens to be a scout in the Los Angeles organization and should have a good handle on how to go about the young forward’s development.
Even in 2017, Andersson was a surprise selection by the Rangers. He had been expected to go much lower in the first round, but New York obviously thought that he could become a star in the league. The biggest appeal for the young center was how polished he was, and Andersson proved it by playing seven games with the Rangers in that first year.
Unfortunately, the relationship quickly went downhill when he kept getting sent back to the minor leagues and the two sides eventually split last season. Andersson requested a trade and returned to the SHL where he has played since. He was even supposed to stay in Sweden for the 2020-21 season, though that will obviously be reconsidered now that he is in a different organization.
Perhaps the Kings can get the best out of the 21-year-old, but Andersson is heading into the final year of his entry-level contract. If he doesn’t receive an NHL opportunity right away, there is still the chance that he heads back to Sweden next offseason.