Rangers in Europe: Nash back in action for Davos
by Michael Rappaport/Correspondent
At the beginning of the week, only two New York Rangers were playing in Europe. Within a few days, one more Blueshirt had signed on to play overseas and another is rumored to be joining his old club shortly.
The Ranger who signed overseas this week is top-pair defenseman Ryan McDonagh. The 23-year-old blueliner signed with the HC Barys Astana of the KHL, which features NHLers Nik Antropov and Victor Hedman, and former Ranger Nigel Dawes. Although he has yet to play in a game, McDonagh is with the club.
“I wanted to put myself in a situation that would best prepare me to be playing at my best when the Rangers start up again,” McDonagh explained. “This opportunity became available and I didn’t want to miss a chance to play hockey.”
McDonagh joins teammates Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin in Europe. Nash, who is playing for HC Davos in the Swiss National League, has been a source of speculation the last two weeks.
Rather, Nash’s head and shoulder have been the sources of speculation.
Nash missed four games with what was diagnosed as a bruised shoulder. However, multiple reports suggested that Nash suffered a head injury, which the left wing and his agent dismissed as erroneous. In his return to the lineup on Oct. 9, the 28-year-old scored the game-tying goal and added an assist in Davos’ 3-2 overtime victory.
Despite the win, HC Davos sits in 10th place in the 12-team league.
Hagelin, who signed with his old club, Sodertalje SK, in the HockeyAllsvenskan (Sweden’s second-tier league) on the same day that Nash suffered his shoulder injury, played his first game with the team this week. The Swedish speedster added two assists in Sodertalje’s 4-3 win.
The club is in 12th place in the 14-team league.
The next Ranger who could be heading to Europe is Henrik Lundqvist. According to multiple reports this week, Lundqvist’s old Swedish club, the Frolunda Indians in the Swedish Elite League, has secured the financing necessary to bring the reigning Vezina Trophy-winner back to his old stomping ground.
Lundqvist tweeted on September 19th that he planned to stay in New York for a few weeks, and indicated that if a new CBA weren’t reached, he would consider going to Sweden. Playing in Frolunda would reunite Henrik with his twin brother, Joel, who is the top-line center and captain for the club.