Jesper Fast. The 23 year old Swedish right winger has definitely made a name for himself this season. For such a young player who is playing in his first full season as a Ranger, he has made quite an impression among the coaching staff, especially the head coach. Alain Vigneault has shown he has confidence in the young player and trusts him in any situation.
After originally being delegated to the fourth line when coming into the line up, Fast has been bounced around every single line in order to find the right combination. Recently, due to the injury sustained by Mats Zuccarello, Fast has found himself on the second line with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider. Since being put with his new line mates this series, Fast has one goal and two assists.
His hockey sense and puck poise is extraordinary for a player of his caliber and has thrived in any chance the coach has given him. Whether he plays on the fourth line, penalty kill, or currently as as top six forward, he instantly makes everyone around him better. His work ethic is contagious, as Kreider and Stepan improved and stepped up their level of play since being paired with Fast.
This season, Fast only played 58 games, due to being in and out of the lineup and a knee injury. He did manage to tally 6 goals and 14 points. Throughout the season he stayed a bottom six forward, with his mainstay being the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Tanner Glass.
In any line he has played on, he has showed up why he is such a dynamic player. He does the little things that are necessary for individuals to do in order to win hockey games. He back checks, kills penalties, can create offense off the rush (just ask Chris Kreider), and can be played against opposing teams’ top players.
The Rangers have proven that their depth can carry them in games, especially with players like Jesper Fast. He has become an important tool in Vigneault’s arsenal that he can easily use in any situation. He played a vital role in the game winning goal in Game 5 and and Kreider’s first goal in Game 6.
He has grown as a player this season and has easily contributed in any way he can in these playoffs. If Fast can keep playing the way he has been, the coaches’ confidence in him will sky rocket. The farther the Rangers go, the more important Jesper Fast will be.