Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Breaking Down the 07-08 Wolverines: Carl Hagelin

Next up is the first Wolverine to come from Europe/Asia since 1992, Carl Hagelin.

Last Season: It's a bit of a chore to find the real stats for his league in Sweden. I think I had four or five different profiles for him on the sidebar at one time or another and they all had different numbers. A friend of mine described it this way:
His league, J20 Sodra has a regular season of like 10 teams. Then the top four teams, which his team was not one of, go on to this Elite 8 type of thing that takes the top four teams from the J20 Norda or whatever it's called. Then the 6 shitty teams from the Sodra division play each other in the J20 Sodra Var. They have their little playoff against each other and then the best 3 of the shitty teams in sodra play the best 3 shitty teams from Norda and they have like the not good enough to be elite, but not shitty enough to go home playoffs.

So what ended up happening is that he played 25 regular season games, and 18 playoff games. Or something like that. Anyway, based on the stats that MGoBlue has for him, he had 13-17--30 in the regular season (tied for first on the team) and led his team in scoring with 12-19--31 in the playoffs. He may have even led the league in scoring, but who knows. Elite Prospects says he did, so we'll go with that. He was second in scoring and first in playoff scoring the year before. So that's good. He was also the team captain last year, and the New York Rangers thought enough of him to make him their sixth round draft pick.

Expectations: Of all the players in this class, Hagelin is the biggest unknown. It was hard to find stats for him and most of the articles about him are in Swedish. From his Checking In profile, he says he's a great skater and uses his acceleration. He also apparently likes to forecheck and hit people.

So you got me. He could play on the first line because of his speed and forechecking ability, plus the fact he can put the puck in the net. He could play on the checking line because of those same attributes.

Colin had a post about him awhile back and figured that he has about a 40% chance of making the NHL or contributing mightily to the national team.

To be on the safe side, I'm going to temper my expectations to this: He works his butt off, forechecks like a demon, hits a bunch of people, and chips in with some goals here and there. Is that general enough for ya? Bob Miller was at Captain's Practice today and liked the looks of him playing with Matt Rust.

So for expectations I'm going with "key member of a really effective third line". Jason Bailey had 7 points in 27 games as a freshman. Mike Brown had 13 points in 42 games. He'll better both of them, because it sounds like he's a more skilled player. But hopefully he brings the same tenacity that they did at times. Without the whole "being -11 in 19 games like Bailey last year" thing.

I guess more than anything, it depends what line he lands on. If he ends up on one of the top two lines, his numbers will obviously be higher. I think matching the 18 points that Travis Turnbull put up as a freshman would be a nice benchmark.

Level of Necessity: I don't have a friggin' clue on this one. I have Turnbull as a 6.5 so we'll go just a tick lower and say 6 out of 10. I'd also like to take this opportunity to raise Chad Langlais's rating up a half point to 6.5 since it sounds as if Coach Berenson feels there might be a bigger adjustment period for Kevin Quick than some of the others, which wouldn't be shocking given that he's coming from prep hockey. In the line chart in my mind, I had Quick pegged as a second-pairing guy, but now I'll amend it to Langlais. At least early on. And as always, take these ratings with a huge grain of salt, because I'm an idiot.

From all indications, Hagelin is going to play. And it wouldn't shock me if he sees decent minutes, especially if he stays on a line with Rust, who I think we're really going to like. He sounds like a guy who is probably not going to play on the power play, but I bet he sees some time on the PK, even if he's not a regular on the special teams. It's always nice to have a speedy forechecker out there to disrupt the breakout.

Other Stuff: As I linked above, Bob Miller was at Captain's practice. Well worth a read.

Peabody over at Michigan Against the World took some time out from trying to justify to himself that the Patriots' actions really weren't that big of a deal, and has figured out why there's been an outbreak of extremely attractive females in the Michigan Cheerleading Squad and in the stands.

The Michigan Ice Hockey TV schedule came out today. For those of you who get all the channels, the Wolverines will be on TV 24 times. Of those, I should be getting at least 19, which will go a long way toward helping me manage some decent hockey coverage despite not being in the state of Michigan any longer. That number goes up if my Comcast stations on Dish Network pick up any of the games that the Ann Arbor/Boston networks are airing. Seven of the games will be away from Yost/Joe Louis.

Lastly, JMFJ's old nemesis Steve Downie is up to his old tricks. He threw a flying elbow into the head of Dean McAmmond and McAmmond had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. Downie isn't going to last in the NHL pulling crap like that. His reputation precedes him, and hits like that aren't helping matters.

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