In a chat at the Rangers website, Gordie Clark was asked about Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg and where they are in their development in regards to playing with the Rangers.
He described Lindberg as a two-way center and Fast as a player whose strengths are speed and scoring. Clark said that he thought Lindberg was the best player in development camp last year and isn’t surprised at the strong season he had this year in the SEL.
He said that Lindberg plays a simple game and one that may translate quicker to the NHL than Fast’s.
Clark notes that with the shoulder injuries to Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin that will start the season, Fast will likely be one of the players looked at to step into one of those roles if he is ready.
He said that he watched Fast in March and saw a player who was more aggressive and more physical than he had been previously.
Clark said that both Fast is one of the smoothest skaters he has ever seen and while Fast projects out to be more of a goal scorer he has the ability to use his speed and skating like Hagelin does and get in on the forecheck and disrupt the defense.
Rangers prospect Oscar Lindberg had four goals and eight assists on his way to helping Skellefteå AIK to the Swedish Elite League Championship and playoff MVP.
The SEL website said that it wasn’t just his point production that landed Lindberg the MVP, but his “courageous and hard work ethic all over the ice.”
In the regular season, Lindberg had 17 goals and 25 assists. He had five power play goals and four game winning goals.
Lindberg was ranked 9th in the Rangers prospect rankings by Hockey’s Future and Leslie Treff wrote that Lindberg is good on faceoffs and projects to be a two-way forward focusing more on defense, but also with some offensive upside.
Jeremy Darke, who follows the Swedish Elite League, writes that Lindberg will “be a great addition to any team he plays with.” He says that Lindberg is a “real talent” who works well in the corners, wins puck battles and is able to use his skill and vision to create scoring chances.
Jeremy also noted that Lindberg is strong defensively, sometimes takes penalties but was 56.9% on faceoffs this season.
According to Larry Brooks, in the NY Post, since Mats Zuccarello, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fasth are on the Rangers reserve list, they can play for the team following the end of their respective seasons in Europe.
Zuccarello would need to sign a contract but would not have to clear waivers to play for the Rangers.
Lindberg and Fasth signed contracts last spring.
In the KHL this season, Zuccarello has nine goals and 15 assists in 35 games.
Zuccarello signed a two-year deal in the KHL but the Rangers retained his contractual rights.
Adam Rotter: Maybe it is because the team has been so lackluster in previous years, but the thing that really draws me to Lindberg is his ability on faceoffs.
Read: Oscar Lindberg Relishing Offensive Opportunity
Oscar Lindberg is far more than just a defense-first two-way forward, and he’s pleased to have the opportunity to show it this year.
I spoke with Lindberg earlier in the year about his excellent start to the season on the offensive side of the puck and the opportunities afforded him by Skelleftea coach Anders Forsberg this year.
“It’s fun to get the trust of the coaches and to get so much ice time when there are players who are injured. There is more responsibility, but I think I have handled it in a good way.”
Lindberg has spent time jumping between lines this season based on club need and body count, but he’s pleased with his contribution at both ends of the ice.
“I have played on various lines this season. Often I have played with Joakim Lindstrom and Jimmie Ericsson, and I think it has worked well. We have contributed much offensively.”
I asked Lindberg about another young Swede bound for New York in the near future. HV71′s Jesper Fasth, like Lindberg, signed an entry-level deal with the Rangers this summer, and I was curious to know if the two had spoken about the future at all.
“We have not talked a lot about what next year will be like, but it’s obviously nice to have another Swede in the same situation as myself. It will help a lot when I move over to the US.”
Blueshirt fans should be excited by Lindberg’s progress this season, but, after back-to-back playoff final defeats in Sweden, his sole focus at this point is on league glory with SAIK.
“I have not really thought very much about next year yet. All my focus right now is on Skelleftea, then we will see what happens next year.”
In an interview with Blueshirts United Gordie Clark said that Lindberg has been the Rangers prospect who has improved the most. Clark said that Lindberg was always a good defensive player but the offense he has added this season has turned him into a solid two-way player.
He has 10 goals and 16 assists this season and is tied for sixth in the SEL. Prior to this year he never had more than five goals in a season and 14 total points.